Mark Irwin’s return to Premiership hockey has been cut short after he tore his Achilles tendon in Instonians game against Cookstown last weekend.
It is anticipated the former Irish International, will be not be able to pick up a stick for at least six months.
“I have torn my Achilles tendon, and it looks like I will be out for at least the rest of the season,” explained Irwin. “It’s a pretty serious injury, as my consultant says it will be at least six months before I can ever play hockey again.”
Irwin has a player/coach role at Inst but up until this season had been happy enough operating things from the sideline. But a shortage of players had forced his return to the pitch.
“I was only trying to help out, as we had players not available and others, who had left, and it had given us a shortage, but unfortunately I won’t be able to do that again.
“It was nice to be back playing, but I have to accept it is a young man’s game and the speed it is played at, requires players to be at peak fitness. I enjoyed it, but I was aware that you can’t really play and coach.”
Even with his leg in plaster, Irwin intends to be back on the line this week in their home game against Kilkeel.
Inst are sitting in second place three points behind leaders Banbridge. It is crucial Inst secure all three points on Saturday, and there is every chance they will, as Kilkeel are bringing a decimated side that has five players out for the game. The game starts at 1pm tomorrow.
Bann are taking an unchanged side to Stormont, where they play a Civil Service side who find themselves in the relegation zone. It is not expected Service will get any change out of a Bann side going for their 8th straight league win.
Cookstown crashed to a rare home defeat to Inst last week, and tomorrow they travel to Annadale. Dale are tied on thirteen points with the Reds but they have a game in hand. This will be a close call and a share of the spoils is expected.
Errol Lutton takes an unchanged Lisnagarvey side to Belfast Harlequins this week.
Mossley and Newry play tonight in a six-pointer at the Glade (8.15pm). Newry have notched up two straight wins and they will be out to make it hat-trick.
Mossley coach, Fergie Cosgrove, must be wondering how he can turn Mossley’s fortunes around, as they languish at the foot of the table with one point in seven outings.