Nothing more than a fourth straight win will do, according to Banbridge boss Mark Tumilty.
Bann only need a point against Annadale to secure a place in next month’s Irish Hockey League play-offs, but Tumilty will be telling his players to go for the four points and not mess about; not what Annadale wanted to hear.
Ironically, it was Dale who dented their haul of possible trophies, when they surprisingly dumped Bann out of the Kirk Cup but the Bann coach will not be dwelling on that. Since then, they have charged to the top of the Premiership but that title looks to be heading up the road to Garvey and now they are poised to reach the IHL play-offs.
“We are in a great place and probably already through, as we also have a superb goal difference but we will not be going for a point. We have played really well in the IHL so far and I will be looking to the guys to maintain those standards,” said Tumilty.
“We were missing Eugene Magee, Colin Dowds and Drew Carlisle last week. But it’s great having Owen Magee and Johnny McKee back in the side and getting plenty of pitch time.
“We will not be risking any players this weekend, as we want everyone fully fit for the final game and the play-offs.
“Josh Moffet only lasted a few minutes last week, as he has picked up a hamstring injury, so he will definitely be rested this week.”
Lisnagarvey are probably Ulster’s only realistic hope of joining Bann in the play-offs but they have to overcome ISC champions, Three Rock Rovers, who are sitting at the top of Pool A with maximum points.
Mark Raphael returns for the Blues after an absence of a few weeks, as does Jonny Quigley who missed last week’s game in Cork.
Only a win will keep Garvey in the mix, anything less and it will see them miss the play-offs.
Cookstown have a slender hope of reaching the last four, but that also depends on other results. This week they are off to Instonians, who are now just playing for pride, as three defeats on the trot ended their IHL campaign for another season.
There is a crunch match in the premiership, as a defeat for an injury strewn Raphoe will leave them needing to defeat Garvey, to avoid automatic relegation. However, a win for Belfast Harlequins, who will be without James Hutchinson, will see them still in contention for IHL qualification next season.
Both Newry and Portadown are without a couple of key players for their Irish Trophy semi-final clash. Jeremy Greer and Keith McWilliams are both out for Newry. Whilst Portadown’s Jamie Wright is away on holiday and Geoff Edgar and Neil Gilmore are both doubtful.
Cookstown II’s could land some silverware for the club, as they play holders Monkstown in the semi-final of the Irish Junior Cup. The County Tyrone side are hunting down their third IJC title.