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Hockey: Foreign legion all missing as Pembroke take on Glenanne

Pembroke Wanderers will be without their star South African players if their Leinster League match against Glenanne on Saturday is spared from snow.

While coach Brendon Carolan will be at his post in the dug-out at Serpentine Avenue, compatriots Jethro Eustice, Brandon Panther and goalie Gowan Jones are all still at home in the southern hemisphere.

The trio have been hamstrung by restrictions on their visas which put a strict limit on the number of days they may remain in Ireland, so they will not be back in Dublin until later this month. All three have been vital to shoring up the credentials of a club that suffered a major exodus during the summer.

With their assistance, Pembroke have progressed to the knock-out phase of the EuroHockey League and they are hanging in at the top of the table in Leinster, though joint leaders YMCA and Glenanne both have a game in hand.

However, they shipped five goals in a catastrophic Neville Cup outing against Monkstown without their contingent of imports last time out.

In the absence of the foreign legion, the defending champions are delighted to have the services of international Tim Lewis, home on winter break from German Bundesliga outfit Crefelder.

They are also hoping to have stalwart attacker Gordon Elliott back in harness for the first time since the birth of his first child. Simon Thornton stands by to deputise for Jones in goal.

Meanwhile, opponents Glenanne expect to be at close to full strength if hockey finally emerges from the unwelcome winter hibernation.

The only likely absentee from the ranks of the Tallaght side is Brendan Parsons, who is on honeymoon.

Irish Independent