Monkstown – Men’s EY Hockey League preview

Last season: 6th EY Hockey League; Irish Senior Cup quarter-final; Mills Cup semi-final; Neville Cup second round

Coach: Gareth Watkins (1st season); assistant coach: Andy Ewington; manager: Tim Dunwoody; S&C: Kevin Foley (second year with the team); Video Analyst: Conor Keary

Players in: Aran Rooney (Railway Union) Rory Nichols (Trinity) Kyle Good (year out)
Players out: Stephen Cole (Royal Oree), Gavin Groves (retired)

Gareth Watkins has moved across from Monkstown’s women to men as coach. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Overview: Monkstown line up with a new look management team, headed by player-coach Gareth Watkins who moves across from the women’s section. He links up with Andy Ewington coming back to the fold in a coaching capacity, bringing experience from previous coaching roles in New Zealand and Italy, as well as the obvious specialist skills on corner attack and defence. Tim Dunwoody returns as manager, bringing a wealth of experience after fulfilling the role previously under a number of coaches up to 2011.

On the playing front, former captain and Irish international Stephen Cole will be a big loss, having been an ever-present in the midfield for over a decade. Gavin Groves has also stepped away to take on the head coach role with Pembroke ladies, although the return of Kyle Good, Rory Nichols and Aran Rooney bolsters a squad that suffered from a glut of injuries last season.

To that end, Karl Lynch is a concern for at least the first half of the season with tendinitis (knee). David Cole will captain a side an increasingly youthful Monkstown side, with Guy Sarratt a year older and looking to further fulfill their potential, while a crew of Under-18 players will be looking to stake a claim for inclusion.

Irish Senior Cup draw: third round vs Glenanne (home)

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