Coach: David Bane (4th season)
Players In: Hayley O’Donnell (Pembroke), Alice Ward (Pembroke), Liane Costello (Old Alex)
Players Out: Christine Boyle (Edinburgh), Caoimhe Costigan (Limerick)
Summary: Minimal turnover in student terms with graduates Caoimhe Costigan and Christine Boyle sees David Bane continue to mould a young team with plenty of scope to push for an IHL place.
They have three good additions; Liane Costello has an All-Ireland club championship winner’s medal in her pocket from her time at Hermes while Hayley O’Donnell and Alice Ward have played IHL hockey with Pembroke in the past two seasons.
The presence of provincial U-21 representatives Maebh Horan, Caroline Murphy and Rachel Scott – potentially moving into the forward line – will benefit from another year’s experience while Katie Grehan’s decision to take a year of grace is another bonus.
Preseason has been good, winning the Garryduff-hosted tournament ahead of Galway, the Munster U-18s and C of I while a mixed first/seconds outfit drew 1-1 with a similar selection from Railway Union.
They still await the whole squad to return from summer holidays but will be hoping to stretch a push for the top five beyond Christmas – the point from which their effort fizzled away last term.
Three tough ties await in the opening weeks, though, against sides with international quality.
First three games: Railway Union (h); UCD (h); Old Alex (a)