Last four of Hospital Cup serves up a treat

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TWO of the courses in this weekend’s Super Sunday of Manx football are served up by the NK Construction Hospital Cup.

The traditional end-of-season knockout competition reaches it semi-final stage with two intriguing last-four ties in store.

Kicking-off the day’s proceedings with an unusual 12.30pm kick-off is the battle of the league champions at Glencrutchery Road, where Canada Life Premier League victors St George’s will take on their counter-parts from JCK Division Two St John’s.

Both sets of Saints have been in sparkling form this season, steam-rolling their way to their respective title wins.

Something, however, has to give at the weekend with one of the sides set to double the total of games they’ve lost all season.

Geordies have finished the campaign in fine form and will be favourites to advance from this one. However, the Glencrutchery Road outfit’s much lauded defence has looked a little shaky in recent weeks and may be put under pressure by St John’s prolific brothers in attack Stephen and Andy Glover.

For the westerners the match will provide them with an opportunity to test their top-flight credentials ahead of their return to the PL in August.

In the FA Cup they lost to 2-1 to Laxey in a lacklustre second round tie in March and will be eager to produce a better performance than that in this tussle with the island’s best.

St John’s will be boosted by the return from university of the talented Ant Moore and Callum Taggart, but even the pair’s inclusion in the Saints squad may do little to knock the treble-chasing hosts out of their stride.

The other semi-final at Springfield Road also looks likely to be an interesting affair with St Mary’s hosting Peel in the day’s evening kick-off.

Peter Kennaugh’s Sunset City side won both the league encounters between the duo and should be favourites to book their place in a second cup final of the season after losing to St George’s in January’s rearranged Railway Cup finale.

Having said that Peter Langridge’s team are a determined bunch and the presence of Stephen and Marc Priestnal in their ranks means they have plenty of firepower in the final third of the pitch to trouble the westerners’ defence.

If Peel can blunt the aforementioned brothers’ enthusiasm then they should be on course to inflict the Saints second cup semi-final exit this term.

If not the Saints could replicate their infamous FA Cup prelim round win over the westerners from earlier in the term.

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