Hermes look set to be the central protagonists in a trimmed down Leinster women’s league division one weekend as they feature in two of the three games to go ahead, facing fellow title hopefuls UCD and Loreto.
They do so with the likes of Lisa Jacob, Sinead McCarthy and Audrey O’Flynn freed of international commitments. Similarly, UCD can call on a wealth of players from the national setup with Katie Mullan possibly making her debut in college colours.
She adds to what is already an enticing forward proposition, linking up with fellow internationals Nikki Evans and Anna O’Flanagan while the quality of Sarah Greene and Leah Ewart is augmented by Niamh Atcheler, Chloe Watkins, Nicola Gray and Brenda Flannery coming back into the fold.
With Stella Davis back based in Dublin, they also have increased their goalkeeping options to make for an imposing prospect when Hermes come calling at Belfield.
Loreto are next for the Booterstown outfit on Sunday afternoon in a fixture brought forward six days as Graham Shaw and Gareth Evans’ side hope to continue their perfect start to the season, yet to concede in 350 minutes of hockey to date.
North Kildare will aim to build on their impressive start to life as a division one club against Trinity who have just a single goal and no points to their name just yet after a tough start to the campaign
Elsewhere, all eyes will be on Grange Road where the U-18 and U-16 interprovincial competitions take place under the watchful eyes of national underage coaches Richie Malone and Alison McNeill over two intense days of action.
For Old Alex, the event will be a particular source of pride with 13 representatives between the two age groups with 12 representing Leinster while Emma Duncan flying the flag for the South East team.
In all, nine of the girls hail from Alexandra College and the other schools represented are Cross and Passion College, Kilkenny College, Wesley College and St Andrews.
The U-18s representatives – Juliet Beatty, Carolyn Crampton, Emma Duncan, Amber Gleeson, Rachel Gray, Hannah McDermott, Millie O’Donnell, Anna Roopnarinesingh – also play at senior level in Old Alex on the first and second team squads. They are looking to topple Ulster from reaching five titles in a row and take the honours for the first time since 2007.
Eight of the panel Are back from last season’s vintage with Kate Dillon and Colm Blennerhassett once again making up the coaching team.
Of those eight, Sarah Hawkshaw captains the side while Dublin minor ladies football star Molly Lamb, Hannah McDermott, O’Donnell, Cliodhna Loughlin, Jessica McGirr and Jenny Long are also back in the fold.
For Leinster’s U-16s, five remain from the 2011 edition. Alannah Carragher will once again don the pads while her High School/Corinthian team mate Saoirse O’Donoghue – younger sister of Irish international Shane – is also back for a second year.
Alex livewire Louise McCollum and vice-captains Miah Phelan and Elena Tice return too with the latter bringing a wealth of international experience. She was an ever-present in the Irish U-16s European campaign while she also holds the record of youngest Irish women’s cricket international and second youngest worldwide.
As last year, Phelan is the sole non-South Dublin player included in the panel, hailing from Cross and Passion, Kilcullen. The squad is also a good indication of the work being done at Avoca at youth level with three of their number included in the selection, namely captain Rachel Boyce, Ellen Curran and Amber Barnwell.
Women’s Leinster Division One: North Kildare v Trinity, 11.30am, Kilcock; UCD v Hermes, 1pm, Belfield
Sunday: Hermes v Loreto, 4pm, St Andrew’s
Division Two: Newbridge v Pembroke, 10am, St Mary’s Naas; Bray v Old Alexandra, 1.15pm, Loreto Bray; Trinity v Three Rock Ladies, 1.30pm, Wesley College; Railway Union v Loreto, 2.30pm, Park Avenue; Genesis v Hermes, 2.30pm, Belfield
Leinster U-16 girls squad: Alannah Carragher (GK, High School/Corinthian; Orla Minogue (GK, Loreto Dalkey/Pembroke), Emma Mathews (Holy Child Killiney/Muckross), Rachel Boyce (capt, Loreto Foxrock/Avoca), Miah Phelan (Cross and Passion, Kilcullen/Old Alex), Ailish Long (High School/Corinthian), Saoirse O’Donoghue (High School/Corinthian), Amber Barnwell (Rathdown/Avoca), Louise McCollum (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Tara Junghenn (St Killian’s/Pembroke), Ellen Curran (Loreto Foxrock/Avoca), Pia Diepman (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Sarah O’Loughlin (St Gerards), Sally Campbell (St Andrew’s College/Old Alex), Georgina Spillane (Mount Anville/Railway Union), Suzanne Kelly (Mount Anville/Mount Anville HC), Elena Tice (St Gerards), Lucie Wolfe (Alexandra College/Old Alex)
Manager: Deirdre Mathews
Coach: Sarah Scott
Assistant Coach: Ian Clarke
Physio: Roisin Byrne
Leinster U-18 girls: Carolyn Crampton (GK, Wesley/Old Alex), Ciara Callan (GK, Mount Anville/Hermes), Cliodhna Loughlin (St Andrew’s/Railway Union), Rachel Gray (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Millie O’Donnell (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Amber Gleeson (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Sarah Hawkshaw (capt, Mount Sackville/Railway Union), Juliet Beatty (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Jessica McGirr (vice-capt, Loreto Beaufort/Loreto), Anna Roopnarinesingh (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Hannah McDermott (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Jenny Long (High School/Corinthian), Sarah Evans (Rathdown/Loreto), Molly Lamb (Loreto Foxrock/Railway Union), Sara Twomey (Mount Anville/Hermes), Sara Quill (Wesley/Corinthian), Jenna Volpert (Jersey College/Hermes), Sorcha Clarke (Loreto Dalkey/Pembroke), Sarah Patton (Loreto Abbey, Dalkey/Hermes), Claire Foley (St Gerards/Pembroke)
Coach: Colm Blennerhassett
Assistant Coach: Kate Dillon
Manager: Holly Jenkinson
GK Coach: Ross Murray