Banbridge coach, Mark Tumilty, slipped into Glenageary Park, the home of Dublin side Monkstown last Sunday to watch them take a step closer to winning the Leinster Championship in over 30 years.
But he wasn’t there to simply cheer them on, he was there to glean as much information as he could as this weekend, his Bann side play Monkstown in the quarter-final of the ISC.
“I have to say they were impressive,” said Tumilty. “They gave Three Rock a hiding and that was their second game in two days. They have a very good squad and have three Irish international forwards up front.
“But we have forwards who are equally as good, if not better. If you want to win cups, these are the games you have to win if you want to be a top side.”
Tumilty went on to say: “It’s all about winning on Saturday, performance is important but it’s about winning and I don’t care how we win and that’s the most important thing.
“We must not be as naive as we were in the All Ireland League Final against them last season. We thought we could play our own style of hockey and play them off the park, that’s not possible.
“We have to set up in a manner which will give ourselves a chance. It is a game I would love to be playing in, as I think it will be a great game of hockey.”
Last weekend was the first time this season that Tumilty had a full squad, and the timing could not have been any better.
Drew Carlisle was back from his Irish trip to Spain, Eugene and Owen Magee and Matthew Bell were all back from injuries and it showed, as they played Cookstown off the park.
Monkstown have only lost two league games this season and have knocked in 73 goals in 17 outings. And on Sunday if they win, they will be crowned Leinster champions.
So will they have one eye on that game when playing Bann the day before? Let’s hope so.
Ironically that game is against Glenanne, who play Lisnagarvey - Ulster’s only other representatives in this season’s competition.
Garvey are just edging it in the Ulster title chase with Bann but they would love to lift the ISC, something they haven’t done for nine years, when they were the last Ulster side to win the trophy.
Garvey coach, Errol Lutton, has also been watching Glenanne’s results this season. He said: “Glenanne are going reasonably well, but they have lost several very good players over the last few seasons to coaching.
“But they have had a couple of players recently away with the Irish squad in Spain and they have some very useful players in their squad, so we are expecting a tough game.
“It has been difficult to focus on the Ulster league and the ISC, as games are coming thick and fast and you could easily slip up. But once we get the mid-week game against Annadale out of the way, we will be focusing on Saturday’s game.
Garvey have several schoolboys in their squad and already James Lorimer, Sean Murray, Daniel Nelson and Aaron Martin are all establishing themselves as regular first eleven players.
So both Garvey and Bann will welcome the break from league action this weekend and let’s hope both names will be going into the hat for the semi-final draw come Saturday afternoon.
Quarter Final draw:
Corinthian v Pembroke
Fingal v Three Rock Rovers
Lisnagarvey v Glenanne
Monkstown v Banbridge