Thursday 22 August 2019

Bottom three facing battle to avoid the drop on final day

Three Rock Rovers are likely to rest Luke Madeley. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Three Rock Rovers are likely to rest Luke Madeley. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Stephen Findlater

Cork C of I, Cookstown and YMCA's monumental relegation tussle will take the major focus on the final day of the men's EY Hockey League with just one point separating the sides.

It is a fascinating finale where both C of I and Cookstown are in the position that they could win and still be relegated or lose and stay up - such are the permutations.

YM are in the best position, one point better off and facing a Pembroke side already eyeing the summer break, and who have conceded 16 times in their last three outings.

For C of I, they trailed by six points at the bottom a month ago but their first league win in 503 days reignited their season when they beat Cookstown 3-2. A further 3-1 win at Monkstown got them off the bottom on goal difference.

Now they face second-placed Three Rock Rovers who are likely to shield some of their top stars ahead of next week's Champions Trophy with internationals Daragh Walsh and Luke Madeley - who both confirmed pro terms with Leuven in Belgium this week for next season - likely to be rested.

Cookstown host another play-off-bound side, Banbridge, knowing they have to go three goals better than C of I, be it a win or a loss.

On the women's side, Muckross will hope to complete their great escape from automatic relegation where a win over UCD will see them safe. Otherwise, they will hope Cork Harlequins do them a favour and see off understrength Ards who will go down with anything other than a win.

Irish Independent

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