IHL changes leads to compact Leinster season

The Leinster men’s division one season will take on a condensed look as the back-ended Irish Hockey League season has led to a major overhaul of the domestic calendar.

With Ireland’s senior internationals also down to possibly play in three world level competitions, it has led to a major logistical issue as each tier attempts to organise their competition. Ireland’s men will play the first round of the World League in September and progression there will set up a second round date in May.

Add in November’s Champions Challenge I and the changes in the IHL dates and the upshot is that 14 rounds of the provinicial league will be played between September 15 and December 15 with four double-weekends on the schedule during this period.

Sunday, February 24 is the closing date for the regular season to be completed, over a month earlier than the March 31 2012 deadline last term, with the Neville Cup moving to March 2013. The Mills Cup running concurrent to the league and keeping its St Patrick’s Day final place while the Irish Senior Cup also runs off the first three rounds of competition in the regular season with the finals weekend on March 23 and 24.

The big change, though, is that the Irish Hockey League will not begin until March 16 with the group phases running through April to the tournament fruition in May.

Pembroke and YMCA face off in a huge early season tussle on day one of the Leinster campaign while Railway Union and Monkstown is another bug opening day tester.

Avoca return to the big time with a trip to Corinthian while Glenanne’s title defence begins against Three Rock Rovers.

Going down the Leinster men’s leagues, division two remains with seven teams with Kilkenny exercising their option to move up from division four.

They take the place of Mullingar who drop down to the fourth tier after a year in senior hockey, taking in a league which has risen to 12 teams from ten.

2011/12 division five winners YMCA III take one of the promotion places with Avoca II and Weston II following them up with just Naas making way, falling through the trap-door into division five.

YMCA IV’s league win also yielded a promotion along with Athy who have moved up three divisions in three seasons but, otherwise, the entrants remain the same with no sides dropping down.

Division six is the one to feel the knock-on from the increase in division four sides, it dropping from 12 to ten teams. Railway Union IV and UCD III move up, replacing Monkstown V and Pembroke V.

Two up and two down for Division Seven, Navan II and Clontarf III replacing Corinthian V and Wicklow while, currently, there are no additions or reductions in league teams overall.

Men’s Leinster League breakdown (click link for 2012/13 fixture lists)
Division One (10): Glenanne, Monkstown, Pembroke, Railway Union, YMCA, Corinthian, Fingal, Three Rock Rovers, UCD, Avoca
Division Two (7): Clontarf, Weston, Kilkenny, Dublin University, Rathgar, Suttonians, Portrane
Division Three (10): Pembroke II, Glenanne II, Monkstown II, YMCA II, TRR II, Railway Union II, Fingal II, UCD II, Dublin Uni II, Corinthian II
Division Four (12): Pembroke III, Monkstown III, Railway Union III, Glenanne III, YMCA III, Corinthian III, Avoca II, Weston II, Clontarf II, Suttonians II, Navan, Mullingar
Division Five (10): Pembroke IV, Monkstown IV, YMCA IV, Three Rock Rovers III, Rathgar II, Athy, Skerries, North Kildare, St James’s Gate, Athy
Division Six (10): Three Rock Rovers IV, Railway Union IV, Glenanne IV, Corinthian IV, Fingal III, Dublin Uni III, Kilkenny II, Mullingar II, UCD II, St Brendan’s/Phoenix Park
Division Seven (10): Pembroke V, Monkstown V, Weston III, Rathgar III, Avoca III, Clontarf III, Portrane II, Navan II, St Brendan’s/Phoenix Park II, Bray
Division Eight (11): Pembroke VII, Pembroke VI, TRR V, YMCA V, Corinthian V, Dublin Uni IV, Fingal IV, Bray II, North Kildare II, St James’s Gate II, Wicklow

Men's Leinster Senior Div 1