Make-or-break weekend for busy Merrion
Published 15/08/2015 | 02:30
Merrion take centre stage this weekend with last night's Alan Murray Cup final followed by a make-or-break league clash and by tomorrow night they hope to be in another Irish Cup final.
Although the home semi-final against Civil Service North is the highlight of the weekend, their Division One League game against YMCA today, also at Anglesea Road, is one they cannot afford to lose.
They go into the game in fourth place, 16 points behind the defending champions and 20 points off the lead. Defeat would all but end their league interest, but it would be the perfect incentive to ensure no slip-up when the Belfast side head south.
CSN have a good recent record in the Irish Cup, with two semi-finals and a quarter-final in the last four years, but the final has eluded them, unlike Merrion for whom victory tomorrow will make it a fourth appearance in the decider since 2010.
The other semi-final is down the road at Sydney Parade and it promises to be a tougher test for Pembroke, against 2011 winners Waringstown, the only team to have interrupted Leinster teams' dominance in the last 15 years.
Of Pembroke's two county players, Barry McCarthy is more likely to play than Andrew Balbirnie but with back-to-back league wins last weekend lifting them off the bottom of the table there will be plenty of confidence in the home side as they bid to reach their first Irish Cup showpiece, which this year will be at The Lawn.
In today's other league games, leaders Clontarf go to Malahide and North County, after back-to-back defeats, hope to return to winning ways at Cork County.