The IHA released the shortlists this week for their annual Awards with the winners to be announced on May 29 at their celebration night in the Burlington Hotel.
Leinster clubs and their members again feature prominently on the lists, featuring in all bar one of the categories.
Monkstown’s Gareth Watkins and Pembroke’s Maurice Elliott will look to take over the mantle of men’s club player of the year from Neil Lyons having enjoyed superb domestic campaigns.
Railway skipper Isobel Joyce and Hermes’ playmaker Anna O’Flanagan are up for the top honour for women’s club players.
At U-18 level, Irish skipper Shane O’Donoghue is for selection on the men’s side while Hermes duo Niamh Atcheler and Chloe Watkins – both part of St Andrew’s treble-winning school’s selection – both get the nod.
Monkstown, Railway ladies and Muckross are up for the Club of the Year title with NICS making up the four team category.
The Town’s credentials include an epic treble from their men’s second team, augmented by a Galtrim and U-16 Cup title while their women’s side goes from strength to strength, winning division 8 and their newly inaugurated second team picking up promotion, too, and the division 13/14 cup.
Indeed, next Saturday’s Irish Senior Cup final could mark another famous chapter in their season.
Railway recently recorded back-to-back Leinster league titles and have two shots at a first ever national title with this weekend’s Irish Senior Cup final against Loreto and the IHL play-offs a week later.
Their fourth team added a cup honour to their list of achievements while coach Mick McKinnon is named in the coach of the year list – a group of four in which regular nominee Craig Fulton is also named.
Muckross, meanwhile, have been resurgent this year. Their first team has bounced back up to division two with an unbeaten campaign with their seconds and thirds both also moving up a division.
North Kildare – who recently opened their brand new Astroturf facility at the Maws – are up for developing club of the year along with Malahide – who installed a pitch, too, within the past couple of seasons at Broomfield – and have been riding high in the lower Leinster league divisions.
Miles Warren and Mandy Hollway are included in the U-18 coach of the year list while Botanic and Pembroke make up part of the youth club selection.
IHA Awards shortlist nominations in full:
Men’s club player: Gareth Watkins (Monkstown), John Gray (Lisnagarvey), Maurice Elliott (Pembroke Wanderers), John Hobbs (Cork Harlequins)
Women’s club player: Isobel Joyce (Railway Union), Arlene Boyles (Pegasus), Anna O’Flanagan (Hermes), Karen Bateman (Cork Harlequins)
U-18 Male player: Ian Sloan (Cookstown), Shane O’Donoghue (Glenanne), Stephen Dowds (Banbridge), Nick Burns (Cork C of I)
U-18 Female player: Dora Gorman (Greenfields HC), Niamh Atcheler (Hermes), Leah Ewart (Armagh), Chloe Watkins (Hermes)
Coach of the Year: Mick Mckinnon (Railway), Craig Fulton (Pembroke), Edward Gash (Cork Harlequins), Gareth Grundie (NICS)
Club of the Year: Muckross, Railway Ladies, Monkstown, NICS
Developing Club of the Year: North Kildare, Malahide, Bruff
Volunteer of the Year: Ciaran Delaney (Knocknacarra), Ivy Dennis (Munster), Malcolm Hill (NICS), Stephen & Gareth Cuddy (Cookstown)
U-18 Coach of the Year: Mandy Holloway (St. Andrews), David Egner (Cork Harlequins), Richard Malone (Galway / Connacht), Miles Warren (Alexandra / Old Alex)ﾠ
Youth Club of the Year: Botanic, Lisnagarvey, Pembroke, Gosvenor
School of the Year: TBA