The season starts here… Men’s Division One

The time for calling 8-3 preseason defeats as “learning experiences” and claiming “it’s only the Neville Cup” is over as the Leinster division one season’s tip off this weekend.

A fixture calendar with a delicious sense of drama has produced a fascinating opening series of ties as perennial rivals Pembroke and Glenanne face off in Tallaght on Saturday afternoon. The visitors have undergone a huge, well-documented turnover in personnel in the summer months while the hosts have lost the services of Irish top goalscorer Stephen Butler.

The rivalry is likely to endure but whether all the changes can be absorbed that quickly will be Brendon Carolan’s first major task.

Monkstown, meanwhile, will hope for a show of strength against Three Rock Rovers at Rathdown – a side they were unable to budge in two highly entertaining fixtures last year that yielded 11 goals. The hosts have gained while Rovers have lost players – directly in the case of Kyle Good – and the Rathdown side have reason to believe this is the year to step up.

Weston’s debut in the top flight in their 63rd year is another great story as the presence of Alan Browne in division one makes a welcome return – this time in a player-coach role. He has goalkeeping issues on the mind as Vinny Byrne is getting married on Saturday.

YMCA are the opponents at Alexandra College while Railway Union play Fingal in the other fixture of the weekend.

To welcome in the new season, The Hook is here to provide the runners and riders for the site’s fourth season covering Leinster hockey.

Click the following links to read more:

Corinthian’s attempt to recreate last season’s heroics has been hit by three high profile moves

Fingal look to build on last season’s Mills Cup final appearance

Glenanne take on the mantle of favourites in spite of Stephen Butler’s departure

Monkstown bring together their stongest squad in recent history

Pembroke reshape after losing close to 600 caps to foreign shores

Railway prepare for live after Paul O’Brien who finally steps down

Three Rock Rovers hope for a more settled squad for 2010/11

UCD undergo their regular high turnover of players

Weston make their debut in the top flight under the guidance of Alan Browne

YMCA continue to improve in Trevor Dagg’s fourth year in charge

Saturday fixtures: Monkstown vs Three Rock Rovers, 1.30pm, Rathdown; Railway Union vs Fingal, 1.15pm, Park Avenue; YMCA vs Weston, 1.30pm, Alexandra College; Glenanne vs Pembroke, 2pm, St Mark’s

*** Errors and ommissions excepted, if you see any mistakes or corrections, let me know and I’ll attempt to correct them as soon as possible.

Men's Leinster Senior Div 1