COOKSTOWN kicked off their Irish Hockey League campaign in the best possible way with a 6-1 win in Cork, but will have to up their game this weekend when they face a double-header against Annadale and Instonians.
With Monkstown also thumping Pembroke Wanderers, Cookstown find themselves sharing the top spot in their IHL group and will have to be wary of their Ulster foes.
Cookstown co-coach Stephen Cuddy said, “I was delighted with his team’s performance down in Cork. The only blemish on the victory was the knee injury sustained by Keith Black in the second quarter. Black got x-rayed and thankfully no bones were broken, however he is extremely doubtful for this coming weekend.”
The Reds first face Annadale on Saturday at 1.30pm at Havelock Park in Banbridge before they must take on Instonians, something of a nemesis in recent games, at Lisnagarvey’s ground at 5.30pm on Sunday.
Annadale were beaten last weekend by Instonians but Cuddy remains wary of the Carryduff outfit.
“After a defeat you usually get a reaction and it’s usually a positive reaction,” he told the MAIL. “We drew with Annadale at home and beat them away in the Ulster Premier League and both sides know each other pretty well.
“They are a hard nut to crack and Andy Smyth has some superb youngsters who will mature into quality players. Even though Annadale finished fifth in the Premiership, I fully expect them to be up there challenging for the title again in a few years.”
On Sunday Cookstown take on Instonians. The Belfast team have been a thorn in Cookstown’s side this last couple of years and games between these two sides are usually high scoring affairs.
“We have not beaten Inst in the last two Premier League seasons and need to be careful not to concede many penalty corners as they have current internationals Gleghorne and Robinson waiting to take advantage.”
Buoyed by their comprehensive win in Cork, Cookstown will know that if they can get through this tough weekend unbeaten they will be in with a great chance of progressing.
However, their final two group games are against Dublin kingpins Monkstown and Pembroke Wanderers. The Pembroke game will be at home on April 27.
The team would appreciate the support of as many people as possible over the coming weekend.
SATURDAY, APRIL 13
Cookstown v Annadale (1.30pm)
Cookstown II v Mossley III (1pm)
Cookstown IV v N. Down III (2.30pm)
SUNDAY, APRIL 14
Cookstown v Instonians (5.30pm)