Cookstown are in no mood to let Pembroke have their way

Instonians keeper Richard Johnson
Instonians keeper Richard Johnson

Cookstown are still smarting from the 7-3 thumping Saturday’s visitors Pembroke Wanderers inflicted on them, in the second round of the Irish Senior Cup last November.

And the Dublin side seem to have a jinx over the Reds, as they also defeated them in last season’s IHL.

But it was the 6-0 drubbing in the final of the 2009 ISC that still is an open wound for the Reds.

Pembroke are coming to Steelweld Park with t,wo past wins in their pocket but they know past results count for nothing, in this opening round of the Irish Hockey League.

Cookstown wrapped up their Premiership league campaign on the back of three straight wins to clinch third spot and are ready to push for their first ever IHL title.

In the All-Ulster clash in Cookstown’s Pool, Instonians entertain Lisnagarvey.

Mark Irwin’s Inst side had a poor IHL campaign last season notching up one win in five games, but Irwin will be hoping they can do much better in this season’s competition.

Inst are still missing goal keeper Richard Johnston, and Andy Coulter and Stuart McWilliams will both undergo late fitness tests before the clash with Garvey, who are missing an injured Mark Raphael.

In the final Pool A game, newly crowned ISC champions Three Rock Rovers welcome Cork Harlequins to their Grange Road base and a win looks on thecards for Rovers.

Pool B is too close to call, and Banbridge will have the added incentive of reaching the IHL finals as they will host them in April.

With home advantage on Saturday it is crucial Bann secure maximum points against Cork Harlequins. Bann have a couple of injury doubts over Colin Dowds and Matthew Bell.

lster’s other representatives in the Group, Annadale, have a tough clash against Dublin visitors Corinthian, but they could just edge it for an opening win.

Holders Monkstown, will defend their title in a tie against the students from UCD.

Meanwhile, there are a couple of crucial premiership games. With the all important fifth and IHL wildcard place still up for grabs, Mossley are hoping to secure all the points against Raphoe tonight at the Glade (8.15pm).

Rodney Bates misses the trip to Mossley through injury.

Kilkeel also have a slim chance of taking fifth spot and welcome back Bill Annett for the clash with Civil Service.