Hockey: Leinster veterans determined to bow out in style
FORMER Irish stars Graham Shaw and Stephen Butler will be on Leinster duty at the weekend amidst all the up-and-coming talent on show at Grange Road in Dublin.
The inter-provincial series has increasingly become a testing ground for those seeking to make the national squad in recent years.
But the Glenanne pair will be taking what amounts to a lap of honour after the announcement of their retirement from the international landscape earlier this year.
The oldies, with more than 300 Irish caps to their names, could have been forgiven for taking a few days off after the hectic conclusion to the Leinster league where their club stuttered down the home straight to finish third.
And, if things pan out well, there are rich plums ahead there for the picking, with the Glens still in contention for Irish Senior Cup and All-Ireland league honours.
Shaw explains that he and Butler signed up for inter-provincial duty before the decision was made to step down from the national panel.
Now they are both looking forward to putting in a strong challenge as the hosts attempt to prevent a hat-trick of Ulster wins in the competition.
The holders come south with a side that appears short of experience, despite the presence of Timmy Cockram and John Jackson.
They will be without the hugely promising David Ames as the Cookstown midfielder has been prescribed a rest cure for recurrent tendonitis.
However, they have included Jason Lynch, the Corkman with the dazzling stick work who has become a very important member of the Lisnagarvey team.
Ulster's gain is Munster's loss, though the southern province have Dublin exiles Adam Pritchard and the Harte twins (Conor and David) in harness under the direction of coach Stephen Jackson.