Hockey: Wanderers exodus adds new spice to long-running rivalry
A long-running rivalry has been given a fresh twist as Glenanne welcome Pembroke Wanderers to Tallaght on Saturday on the opening day of the Leinster league, WRITES DAVID MEDCALF.
Last season Pembroke were favourites every time they took the field, but a summer exodus has considerably weakened the resources of the national champions.
Meanwhile, the Glens have refreshed their line-up with the addition of Czech midfielder Filip Jaros (from Monkstown), striker Stephen Brownlow (Avoca) and Dutch attacker Robert Kroese.
Though they may have lost Stephen Butler, who has moved to Belgium, and Paul Fitzpatrick, Clinton Murphy and Alan Lewis have all retired, they still look quite a good bet to take the 2010/11 title.
After Arul Anthoni's move to Three Rock Rovers, they have a new coach, with Graham Shaw now directing operations -- without hanging up his stick.
"I will still be making a full contribution on the pitch," confirmed Shaw, who said that he will be looking to win every match while he is in charge.
The last time that Glenanne played Pembroke was in May, when Shaw and his team-mates were put out of the Irish League play-offs by a hotly disputed extra-time goal.
Since then their rivals have lost the services of eight current or former internationals, with Wanderers departing for Germany, Holland, Spain and South Africa.
Also among the departed is Justin Sherriff, though he is remaining closer to home, as coach of the women's team at Serpentine Avenue.
They have acquired goalkeeper Gowan Jones from South Africa to fill the pads of David Harte, along with his compatriot, defender Jethro Eustice.
The haemorrhaging of talent from Pembroke is expected to be a recipe for a more competitive provincial league, with YMCA and Monkstown likely to enter the frame.