Leinster women’s Division One takes on the form of a qualifier for EYHL2 this season with the 10 teams vying for a place in the top three and a chance of moving up to the national stage.
For those already there in the second tier of the national division, it makes for a busy season with Trinity, Corinthian and Monkstown all having double weekends to start the season.It will be interesting to see how Monkstown fare with the star addition of Chloe Watkins, returning from a year with HC Bloemendaal in the Netherlands. On the flip side, Lizzie Murphy and Sinead Loughran have moved on but they still have key experience in the panel with Eimear Horan coming back after a year out.
Trinity saw both co-captains Jenny Long and Niamh Sweeney finish up their tenures, leaving space for Ailish Long and Louise McCollum to take on the mantle on their return to the domestic league
Corinthian, in Ralph Billings’ second year, have strengthened after their break-out season last term, winning 13 out of 18 games.
How that EYHL2 trio cope with the additional demands of at least eight extra games on the national stage will be a factor. The likes of Genesis, North Kildare and Glenanne will hope they can close the gap.
Naas, meanwhile, have taken the place of Clontarf in the division following a number of fruitful batches of youth players in the last few years. They start with a tough baptism against Corinthian.
Women’s Leinster Division One
Saturday: Glenanne v Rathgar, 2pm, Glenanne Park; Avoca v Our Lady’s, 2.30pm, Newpark
Sunday: Genesis v Trinity, 2.30pm, St Raphaela’s; Naas v Corinthian, 2.30pm, Caragh Road; Monkstown v North Kildare, 2.45pm, Rathdown
Last season: 8th Leinster Division 1; Jacqui Potter Cup second round; Irish Hockey Trophy third round
Coach: Ronan Hickey (4th season); Assistant Coach: Noelle Farrell; Manager: Leah Spillane; S&C Coach: Robbie Cannon; GK Coach: Brian Cleary
Players in: Noelle Farrell, Claire Byrne (Pembroke); Aoife Glennon (Naas);
Players out: Susie Cannon, Sarah Gardiner (Muckross)
Overview: Leinster assistant coach Noelle Farrell joins the management team in a similar role and will also be a key member of the playing squad. Claire Byrne has returned following a spell at Pembroke while Irish U-16 international Aoife Glennon will replace Ruth Murphy in goal – the latter having moved abroad. Also departing are Susie Cannon and Sarah Gardiner, who have moved to Muckross, while Rachel Boyce is studying abroad for the year.
The team will once again rely heavily on graduates and players from its successful colts section. Tessa May and Anna Dignam are now experienced campaigners while the club has four representatives on the Leinster U-16s – Lauren Moore, Zoe Watterson, Orla O’Brien and Erika Gallagher. Headlinine stealing athlete Sarah Healy was a reserve for the Leinster U-18s but will focus on athletics and school hockey in her Leaving Cert year.Lorena Halpin Doyle will captain the team for a second season while Molly Cole and Aideen McGuinness are fully fit having missed almost all of last season with injury. Close competitive pre season games with Bray, Portadown, Three Rock, Genesis and Clontarf have provided excellent preperation for the season ahead.
Irish Hockey Trophy draw: first round v North Kildare (home)
Last season: 3rd Leinster Division 1; Irish Senior Cup first round; Jacqui Potter Shield winner
Coach: Ralph Billings (2nd season); manager: Siobhan Burke (1st season)
Players in: Holly Micklem (YMCA), Jodie Douglas (Railway Union), Avril Cullen (return from studies), Aisling Ellis (return from studies), Camilla Arbulo (UCD)
Players out: Alanah Quinsey (Travelling), Emily Kealy (Monkstown)
Overview: The reds were the surprise package of last season with a push for the Leinster title, emerging from the pack to lose once in the domestic season. Preseason has been busy, heading to the south of Holland for a four-game series as well as matches against Muckross, UCD, Old Alex and Ards.
Improving on last year’s league position is their number one target whilst giving EYHL2 their best shot. David Fitzgerald will be helping throughout the season with GK coaching with Holly Micklem moving up the hill from YMCA to benefit from that. Caoimhe Proud-Murphy is out with a significant knee injury but they have got some strong additions, not least Jodie Douglas from Railway Union.
Irish Senior Cup draw: first round v Banbridge (home)
EY Hockey League Division 2 group: Trinity, UCC, Greenfields, Queens
Last season: 4th in Leinster Division 1; Jacqui Potter Cup first round; Irish Senior Cup second round
Coach: Ashley Harrison (2nd season); assistant coach: Clive Kennedy; seconds coach: Brad VenterPlayers in: Aoife Henry (New Zealand), Susan Peters (Ashton), Louise Henderson (Pembroke), Anne-Marie Cave (Pembroke), Leah Brennan (UCD), Chelsea Sandford (Mount Anville), Becky Sutherland, Claire O’Connor
Players out: Sorcha Conway (Limerick), Kathy Armitage (Cork C of I), Sorcha McCooey (University in New York), Doireann Shaffrey (UCD), Sorcha Cunningham (Muckross)
Overview: Genesis were an anomaly of sorts last year, managing to garner nine more points (24) than goals scored (15), ending with the devil’s number – 6 wins, 6 draws, 6 losses – on their record in a reasonably productive season. To close the gap on the top three and a possible playoff, they will need to add extra goals to their forward line while keeping up the miserly defence.
Sorcha Cunningham was key to that effort but she has moved to Muckross with Susan Peters coming in from UCC to don the pads. Aoife Henry rejoins the team from Nez Zealand but Beth Fortune is currently injured with hamstring tendonotis and so is doing manager duties for the firsts until she can get back in action.
Irish Senior Cup draw: first round v Ulster Elks (away)
Last season: 7th Leinster Division One; Jacqui Potter Cup first round; Leinster Indoor runners-up; 3rd National Indoor Trophy
Coach: David Keogh (first season)
Players in: Claire Allen (Weston HC) Louise Fanning (Weston)
Players out: (none)
Overview: Glenanne are beginning their 2018/2019 season with a whole new coaching and management panel. David Keogh, from the men’s firsts, has taken up the role of coach while Dermot Dalton is manager with Barbara O’ Malley stepping down after 15 years in the latter role. Serena Rush will be captaining the side this year along with Sarah-Jane Kelly as vice captain.
Pre-season has seen players returning to the pitch after starting their families, with Lorna Stewart and Audrey Westlake making a comeback. Also returning to the team are Trish McGinley and rugby international Paula Fitzpatrick. New in to the team this year are Claire Allen and Louise Fanning who both previously played for Weston and coming up from the junior section is Charlie Rynne who look strong in preseason games.
Wins at the Three Rock tournament against Clontarf, Genesis and the hosts and a draw against North Kildare saw their preseason start on a positive note. The ambition is to push hard for a top three place and a chance at EYHL2 next year.
Irish Senior Cup draw: first round v Trinity (home)
Last season: 10th EY Hockey League; Irish Senior Cup second round; Jacqui Potter Cup semi-final
Coach: Simon Lowry, Manager: Nikkey Cullen
Players In: Chloe Watkins (HC Bloemendaal, Netherlands), Laura McCarthy (Bray) Rosalind Gallie (Weston), Amy Etherington (Northwood Crusaders, South Africa)
Out: Sinead Loughran (Pembroke), Ava Beatty (UCD), Lily Lloyd (Railway Union), Lizzie Murphy (Loreto)
Overview: After a difficult and disappointing season in the EYHL, Monkstown finished on a flourish in the EuroHockey Club Trophy, ending fifth which insured retention for Irish hockey at this level in this competition next season.
Simon Lowry, the newly appointed Irish Under 16’s boys coach, takes over at the helm from Gareth Watkins with Sadhbh Hoban Logan captain and Amber Barnwell vice captain.
The team this season is once again bolstered by the experienced Christine Quinlan and Rosie Carrigan and they welcome back Eimear Horan. The star show is silver medallist Chloe Watkins back on board and South African Amy Etherington joining the ranks it will be a great boost for this team as they look to climb back into the EYHL Division 1 this season. They have a tough group with Catholic Institute and Lurgan looking to be particularly strong rivals.
Irish Senior Cup draw: second round v Pembroke (away)
EY Hockey League Division 2 group: Catholic Institute, Dungannon, NUIG, Lurgan
* awaiting information*
Last season: 6th Leinster Division 1, Jacqui Potter Cup Semi-Final
Coach: Mark Lambe (1st season); manager: Gay Williams (4th season)
Players in: None
Players out: Aideen Griffen (Railway Union), Jade Arundell (Michigan State), Sarah Baker (studies), Elena Teevam (studies)
Overview: Under the tutelage of new coach Mark Lambe, North Kildare firsts will be hoping to build on a strong defensive showing last season and aiming for a higher finish in Division 1 this year. He moves from Our Lady’s with whom he helped oversee their rise up to the top tier in the province and be competitive at that level.
The Maws side will be captained by Rachel Neary with Emilie Ryan-Doyle as vice-captain. They will miss excellent young goalkeeper Jade Arundell who was snapped up for a scholarship by Michigan State.
Last season: 5th Leinster Division One; Jacqui Potter Cup first round
Coach: Paul Byrne (first season)
Players in: Kate Foley, Ciara Donovan, Meg McCarthy.
Players out: Niamh Mahon, Nicola Dennehy, Shauna McPhillips, Aisling Dolan, Aisling Murphy, Ciara Scallan (through study commitments, travel, maternity leave and personal commitments).
Overview: Our Lady’s start the season under new coach Paul Byrne who will look to continue the good work of Mark Lambe who helped the side rise up a couple of divisions and into the top half of the table. Last season, they played a reasonably open game, scoring the fourth most in the league but also conceded the most and so this is a port of call for Byrne to look at as he copes with a number of key players taking a step back this season.
Irish Hockey Trophy draw: bye to second round
Last season: 9th Leinster Division 1; Irish Hockey Trophy, Jacqui Potter first round
Coach: Stuart Malcolm
Players in: Cara Kelehan (Avoca)
Players out: Amy Byrne (USA), Cliona Sheehy (Muckross), Rosie Shanahan (Muckross), Sarah Fox (Muckross), Louise Fahy (Australia), Siofra O’Brien (year out), Saidhbhe O’Brien, Susan McRann (year out), Aimeee O’Connor (year out)
Overview: Rathgar have a challenging season ahead if they are to make the move up the table following the decision of some players opt to take some time out or change club. The hope is that RHC continues to build on last seasons progress and advance in the table, with new coach Stuart Malcolm on board the club and team are confident for the season ahead. Doireann de Paor is set to move to Australia at the end of October.
Irish Hockey Trophy draw: bye to second round
Last season: 9th EY Hockey League; Irish Senior Cup first round
Coach: Brian Scully (3rd season)
Players in: Isabel Mcgovern (Muckross), Alex Burns (Rainey), Sarah Lavelle (Old Alex), Alibhe Kenny (Railway), Ruby Keating (Rathgar), Ciara O’Connor (Weston), Aoife Sexton (Naas), Cam Stephens (abroad)
Players out: Jenny Long (Australia), Niamh Sweeney (Railway Union), Carolyn Crampton (Railway Union), Cliona Mccullough (Railway Union), Avril Dooley O’Carroll (Pembroke), Christiane Spain (graduated)
Overview: Like every year in college hockey, Trinity have suffered a big turnover of players with graduations seeing co-captains Jenny Long and Niamh Sweeney moving on. However, this has been offset with a number of youthful new players who bring enthusiasm and pace to the side. New faces such as Alex Burns, Sarah Lavelle, Isabel McGovern and Cam Stephens provide Trinity with a fresh-faced team.
After a tough end to last season, which was full of highs and lows, Trinity are looking forward to getting back into Division 1 and EYHL 2. The clear goal for the college is to obtain promotion to the EYHL and hope to draw on their experience from playing in the top league last season.
Ailish Long and Louise McCollum co-captain the side and will be drawing from the experience of returning players such as Sally Campbell, Issy Delamer, Rachel Burns and Erica Markey, the latter being heavily involved in the Irish u21 setup this summer.
Brian Scully is in his third successive year of coaching the side; he will be assisted by specialist coaches Kyle Good and David Fitzgerald, also in their third years of assisting the side.
Irish Senior Cup draw: first round v Glenanne (away)
EY Hockey League Division 2 group: Corinthian, UCC, Greenfields, Queens