Daniel Buser will miss Lisnagarvey’s Irish Senior Cup quarter-final game against Glenanne on Saturday as he is still trying to recover from a hip injury.
The Irish international has had a frustrating few weeks watching his side compete for the Ulster title and now misses their biggest game of the season.
But the good news for Garvey is that he is hoping to be back for their Irish Hockey League campaign in March, if not before.
It’s been nine years since the coveted Irish Senior Cup, which was once regarded as ‘theirs’ after they won it seven times on the trot, last appeared in the Lisnagarvey trophy cabinet.
It is unlikely that feat will ever be repeated by any team, but oh how the Garvey faithful would like to have it on display once again.
This weekend they could take a step closer to that goal but in their way are Glenanne who are sitting mid-table in the Leinster league with only seven wins in 14 outings.
But not only do Garvey want to lift the ISC, but they want the ticket back to European competition, where they get an opportunity to pit their skills against some of Europe’s crack sides.
And that is also Banbridge’s ambition, Ulster’s only other team left in the competition.
Bann face last season’s double Irish trophy winner’s Monkstown in Dublin. The Leinster elect champions are flying high in division one of the Leinster League.
Owen Magee looks likely to miss this massive game for Bann, as he struggles to shake of an injury.
But whilst attention will focus on the ISC, there are colossal games in the premiership. Kilkeel must be wondering how they lost midweek to Instonians as they led 4-3 with only minutes to go.
This week they travel to Annadale without Eddie Agnew, Andrew Niblock and William Annett. Both sides need maximum points as they fight it out for fifth place and automatic qualification to next season’s IHL.
Dale crashed heavily to Lisnagarvey midweek going down 7-0, and a slip up this week could be very costly for either team.
Jonny Caren’s Belfast Harlequins are also still in the mix for IHL qualification but they suffered a humiliating 9-1 trouncing against Bann during the week. This week they are off to Raphoe.
It’s a game that could be a banana skin for the Belfast side, as Raphoe are also hoping to avoid automatic relegation to Senior One.
In the only other premiership game Instonians welcome Cookstown to Shaw’s Bridge. Both teams are out of the title race, so it will be a case who can finish in third spot?
Newry’s mid week win against Queens, has confirmed them as favourites for promotion to the top flight and this week they face Campbellians, where they should secure all three points.
Portadown will be hoping to bounce back from their midweek defeat to South Antrim but North Down will have other ideas as they push for the promotion play-off.