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Hockey: Egner not fazed by Pembroke challenge

Cork Harlequins hit the rocky road to Dublin for the second week in a row, this time to take on champions Pembroke Wanderers in the Irish League.

Quins could be forgiven for embarking on the journey with a sense of foreboding after their 1-0 defeat to YMCA in the cup.

Meanwhile, Pembroke were handing out a pitiless 14-0 spanking to Bangor, underlining their claim as the best in the country.

They certainly have the most prolific striker in Irish hockey as Alan Sothern banked nine more goals to his collection in two games last weekend.

Justin Sherriff has returned from honeymoon to join Sothern in the front line with his appetite for the game clearly sharpened.

Harlequins manager Stuart Egner refuses to be daunted by the prospects for the game at Serpentine Avenue, despite the loss of veteran defender Jason Black.

The former international, now aged 33, sustained a double break to his collar bone during the YM defeat.

Black's misfortune means a call-up for second team captain Mark Lombard, who joins brothers Paul and David in the squad.

Egner put last week's result down in part to the lack of consistent match practice of a high standard, leading to ring rustiness compounded by an extended winter break. "We were just ring rusty," he insisted. "That was just our sixth game of the season -- and it showed."

At least it is unlikely that the Quins forwards will have former team-mate David Harte in their sights at Serpentine.

The ace goalkeeper is nursing an injury and has not played since Christmas, allowing Frenchman Anto Bruneaux a run in the Pembroke side.

Irish Independent