A year ago, Pembroke Wanderers were wrapping up their EY Hockey League title.
But this time around, with the champions out of the equation, they stand between Loreto and the title, with the teams meeting at Serpentine Avenue on the final day of the campaign on Saturday.
Loreto lead UCD in the table by two points and Catholic Institute by another one, so a Loreto win over Pembroke would seal the crown. A draw might even suffice, but it would then all come down to goal difference if UCD managed to beat Pegasus at Queen’s. The students currently have a one-goal advantage in that department, so the margins are decidedly slender.
For Institute to prevail, they would need to beat Monkstown, Loreto to lose and UCD to pick up no more than a draw – while overturning a sizeable goal-difference deficit. In other words, they need a miracle.
At the other end of the table, Ards need to win away to Old Alexandra and trust that Institute will see off the challenge of Monkstown if they are to avoid finishing in the relegation slot of second from bottom. Again, goal difference could come in to play in that equation, Ards two goals better off as things stand.
In the penultimate round of fixtures last weekend, all three title-chasing sides secured victories.
Hockey League – Saturday: Old Alexandra v Ards, Alexandra College, 1.30; Railway Union v Belfast Harlequins, Park Avenue, 1.30; Monkstown v Catholic Institute, Rathdown, 2.15; Pegasus v UCD, Queen’s, 2.30; Pembroke Wanderers v Loreto, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30.