Monkstown

Last season: 2nd, Mills Cup winners, IHL winners, ISC winners, Neville Cup quarter-finals
Coach: Graham Shaw (2nd season)

In: Peter Caruth (Braxgata), Keith Kenning (UCD)
Out: Craig Ellis (Fingal)

The lowdown: As reigning All-Ireland champions on two fronts, Monkstown did not need to improve their panel too much but the arrival of Peter Caruth late in the summer makes their forward line even more scary.

DSC_3498Probably Ireland’s best player at the European championships, he joins internationals Gareth Watkins, Davy Carson and Kyle Good in a side filled with goals. Behind them, Stephen Cole is aiming to establish himself in the Irish line-up with his two younger brothers – Lee and David – looking to join him in the near future. David is on the comeback trail after recovering from injury through the summer.

Perhaps the turning point of their best season in a century was Graham Shaw’s decision to return to playing having initially just donned the clipboard. By that time, the league was probably beyond them, dropping 13 points by mid-November.

Their form, thereafter, was breath-taking, losing just two games in all competitions and winning three trophies and must be favourites to land another couple this season.

The conveyor-belt could see Jazze Henry and David Nolan move up to regular first team berths while Lee Carr will try and push David Fitzgerald for the goalkeeping spot now that Craig Ellis has sought first team opportunities at Fingal.

Preseason finished in odd fashion, losing with a weakened team 2-1 to Three Rock’s second team and then 1-0 in the Super Cup semi-final last Sunday to Rovers first eleven. But if they can get one over UCD in round one – who beat them in the league in the spring – they will fancy going on a run of wins with four games in which they will be heavy favourites.

First three games: Sept 21 – Railway Union (h); Sept 28 – Fingal (a); tbc – UCD (a)
Prediction: 1st

Men's Leinster Senior Div 1