With many thoughts already shifting toward the IHL and with the female international stars out for the weekend, the Leinster league seems to have taken a bit of a back-seat.
The difficulty, though, with taking such an attitude is that, for the top sides, it is the leagues that act as a qualifier for the IHL and, for all that it offers, clubs will do well not to take their eye off the ball domestically.
The imposition of limits on how many domestic games internationals can play has led to a number of complaints as clubs may have to pull players from their league side and, possibly lose points they may normally win, leading to a conflict of sorts.
With the introduction of the Super Camps, this issue could yet gain more mileage as Loreto take the field minus five players.
Good squad rotation and planning for the season now become key elements to manage club’s top players while conversely, the results thus far between top and bottom have been a lot closer than last season.
Glenanne face a tough test against Corinthian but the main match this weekend in men’s division one with Monkstown hosting Fingal. Fingal appeared to have the hex on the ‘Town last season with three wins but Monkstown won the most important one – the league decider for fourth place.
The club also has a new addition for the year as their women enter division 14 with a local derby against Dalkey in Loreto, Dalkey.
Kilkenny’s success last season was all about their showdowns with other sides in similar positions in the table. They get an early chance to show if they can repeat the trick against Railway.
In division two, three sides make their seasonal debut. Dublin University play Navan under the coaching of Ronan Pelow. They will be without skipper Jonathon Orr and former Leinster U-21 Ben Hewitt for this opening encounter with the Badgers but welcome Andy Grey. Freshers’ week yielded a couple of potential players including a german goalkeeper, though none are involved in tomorrow’s squad.
Bray start their return to the division with a tough trip away to Suttonians and Weston try their luck against Weston.
On the women’s side, the top two play each other out in Tallaght as Railway face Glenanne. A lot will see Railway as one of the early favourites for the title as they have no current internationals in the side, allied to their early win over Hermes. The most affected side by the super camp, Loreto, will hope they come up against the same Trinity that struggled so badly last week.
Men’s Division 1
Kilkenny vs Railway Union (3pm, Kilkenny College); Corinthian vs Glenanne (1pm, Whitechurch Park); Monkstown vs Fingal (1.30pm, Rathdown); Pembroke Wanderers vs YMCA (2pm, Serpentine Ave); UCD vs Three Rock Rovers (1pm, Belfield)
Naas vs Skerries (1pm, Skerries); Avoca vs Weston (1pm, Newpark); Dublin University vs Navan (1.30pm, Santry); Suttonians vs Bray (2.30pm, Sutton Park)
Women’s Division 1
Bray vs UCD (1.15pm, Loreto Convent); Corinthian vs Pembroke (2.30pm, Whitechurch Park); Hermes vs Old Alex (1.15pm, St Andrews); Loreto vs Trinity (2.30pm, Beaufort); Glenanne vs Railway Union (1pm, Glenanne Park)