Irish Senior Cup final: The treble is on for Pembroke Wanderers

This season has seen the two clubs rival each other for three major national honours

It seems more than appropriate that it will be Pembroke Wanderers and Catholic Institute who will contest Saturday's Irish Senior Cup final at Belfield at the end of a season that has seen the two clubs rival each other for all three of the major national honours.

Pembroke have prevailed in the first two parts of that trilogy, pipping Institute to the EY Hockey League title on the final day of the campaign, before producing an outstanding display in last Sunday's Champions Trophy final when they beat the Limerick side 4-1.

The treble is on, then, Pembroke seeking their first Irish Senior Cup success since 1975, while Institute will attempt to win the competition for the first time in the club’s history, having lost their two previous final appearances, in 1979 and 1984.

Institute are also aiming to become just the second Munster side to win the cup since 1934, Cork Harlequins are the only club from the province to get their name on the trophy in that time (in 2000 and 2019).


Oddly, despite pushing each other all the way this season, their three meetings have been one-sided affairs, all of them ending with a 4-1 scoreline - Pembroke won their home HL game back in November, Institute turned the tables in Limerick last month, before they squared up again in the Champions Trophy.

After the season they’ve produced, just three years to the week after they won promotion to the top flight of the HL, it would be seem cruel if Institute were to finish up without a trophy, although they have secured European hockey for the first time ever.

In Roisin Upton, named player of the season after the Champions Trophy, and Naomi Carroll, they have, though, two of the stars of the campaign, prolific goalscorers both, and a never-know-when-they're-beaten attitude, not least in the semi-finals when Carroll scored twice in the last 10 minutes to overturn cup holders UCD's lead.

But Pembroke looked exceptional last Sunday, their defence as solid as it's been all season, with Emma Buckley picking up the goalkeeper of the tournament award, while they were clinical in front of goal.

It’ll be an intriguing conclusion to the trilogy, ending with either a Pembroke treble or Institute taking the trophy home to Rosbrien for the first time ever. Either way, history will be made.

Irish Senior Cup final - Saturday: Pembroke Wanderers v Catholic Institute, Belfield, 1.30.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times