Last Season: Fourth, Division One; IHL and Irish Senior Cup semi-finals; Jacqui Potter Cup finalists
Coach: Johnny Harte (2nd season)
Players In: Leah Ewart (Armagh), Jeamie Deacon (Railway Union), Anna O’Flanagan (Hermes), Sarah Greene (Hermes), Nicola Gray (Old Alex), Hannah de Burgh-Whyte (Railway Union), Deirdre Duke (Hermes), Kate Collins-Smyth (Old Alex), Noelle Farrell (Pembroke), Dora Gorman (Greenfields), Ciara Noble (Old Alex), Marie Goulding (England), Rebecca Evans (Three Rock Ladies)
Players Out: Orlagh O’Shea (Loreto), Caitriona McGilp (Hermes), Megan Tennant-Humphreys (Old Alex), Rachel Burke (Hull, England), Rosie Carrigan
Summary: As a national semi-finalist in both major competitions last term, the addition of 13 players of division one quality means UCD must be contenders on most fronts this term. Adding Irish international Anna O’Flanagan adds to their current quota, reacquainting herself with All-Ireland winning team mates Niamh Atcheler and Chloe Watkins from three seasons ago at Hermes.
There are plenty of other stars of the future to go around, too. Brenda Flannery has already been skirting the edges of the CPP while Deirdre Duke, Sarah Greene, Leah Ewart and Dora Gorman have the ability to do likewise. Gillian Pinder could have been another and spent preseason at Belfield but a rechecked exam has seen her now enrolled in Trinity.
Gorman is still in juggling mode, very much part of the Republic of Ireland football underage panels, but is a key component while there is abundance of midfield talent and experience to hand with powerful former Railway and NCAA All-American star Jeamie Deacon, Alex schemer Kate Collins-Smyth and Pembroke centre-mid Noelle Farrell added to the mix. Nicola Gray adds an assured defensive presence and a thunderous corner hit.
Keeping such an abundance of talent content is a tough ask for Johnny Harte and how he manages to marry the side together could be in the lap of any adaptations to the availability of players from the central programme. There are notable departures, though, with five of the 2009 Irish Senior Cup winning side moving on. With the CAO offers only confirmed recently, Harte has only seen the full extent of his panel in the past week, meaning October looms large with battles against Railway, Armagh and Cork Harlequins all serving big challenges.
First Leinster league games: Sept 24 vs Railway Union (h); Oct 1 vs Pembroke (a); Oct 2 vs Trinity (h)
Irish Hockey League: Oct 15 vs Armagh (h); Nov 5 vs Pegasus (a)
Irish Senior Cup: Oct 8 vs Cork Harlequins (a)