After a couple of months slightly obscured by the dazzling runs of Loreto and Railway Union, Hermes step out of the shadows as major title contenders following their double victory at Park Avenue a fortnight ago.
How they deal with the changed dynamic as the side to be shot down begins in earnest on Saturday in division one when they face a tricky foe in UCD.
It is the pick of the first full schedule of women’s division one games in 2010.
Plenty of players return to face their former side with Elaine O’Neill – impressive at the unaccustomed right back role against Railway – one of the most recent to switch forces. Niamh Atcheler picked up a knock while on Ireland duty in Spain and may yet miss out.
Most likely Hermes need all three points to stay ahead of the pack as Railway Union and Loreto have manageable away ties at Glenanne and Trinity, respectively.
Old Alex could consolidate their place in the top five with a win in Bray though they will do so without Fyona Flinn who has moved to the Middle East for work reasons.
Pembroke, meanwhile, need to kick-start a charge for the IHL places soon if they are qualify for a third successive year. Corinthian are the visitors to Serpentine Avenue and harbour outside hopes of achieving the same target, making this an interesting tie.
Pembroke’s upcoming run of fixtures feature the sides above them – UCD, Alex, Glenanne and Trinity – in the IHL shake-up some mid-season form could boost their hopes.
In the Irish Junior, Old Alex II face a trip into the unknown to face Greenisland II in Carrickfergus while Loreto II and Railway II are on home turf for their quarter-finals against Galway and Randalstown, respectively.
YMCA’s bid to retain the Irish Hockey Challenge remains very much a possibility. They face Munster division four side Mallow at Claremont Road while Monkstown travel to Clonmel on Sunday.
Leinster Women’s Division One (Saturday):
Trinity v Loreto, 11am, Santry; Glenanne v Railway Union, 12pm, Glenanne Park; Pembroke v Corinthian, 12.30pm, Serpentine Ave; Hermes v UCD, 1.30pm, St Andrews; Bray v Old Alex, 2pm, Loreto Bray
ESB Irish Junior Cup, quarter finals (Saturday)
Railway II v Galway II, 4pm, Park Ave; Greenisland II v Old Alex II, 12.30pm, Carrickfergus; Loreto II v Randalstown II, 1.30pm, Beaufort; Lurgan II v UCC II, TBC, Lurgan
ESB Irish Hockey Challenge, quarter finals (Saturday)
YMCA v Mallow, 1.30pm, Claremont Road; Limerick v Raphoe, 1.30pm, Villiers School; Tipperary v Fermoy, 2.15pm, Canon Hayes
(Sunday): Clonmel v Monkstown, 2.30pm, Rockwell