Last season: 6th, IHL group stage, Neville Cup winners, ISC quarter-final, Mills Cup first round
Coach: Niall Denham (2nd season)
In: Craig Moore (Three Rock Rovers) Simon Thornton (Pembroke), John Pearson (Plymouth University, England), Jake Morton (Grange, Scotland)
Out: Kevin Wong (Erasmus – China) Simon Lowry (France)
The lowdown: Niall Denham has a number of complicated player issues to juggle this season as he looks set to work off a reduced panel. Simon Thornton will be the number one goalkeeper at season’s start as Stephen O’Keeffe will be unavailable until for the most part until Christmas, taking up work at a wolf conservation zoo just outside London. Jeff Spillane is on Erasmus in Toulouse but remains registered with a view to four to six possible games.
Eoin MacArthur is out of action until the New Year due to foot surgery after breaking a bone in the Neville Cup final at the end of April. As such, Railway are working off a pretty small squad this year.
A huge bonus will be having Dutchman Thomas Brits, lethal in front of goal, for the whole season. They also have many of the elements that helped them reach the Irish Senior Cup final a couple of years ago with Kenny Carroll holding the fort, Peter English’s drag-flicks, Fergal Keaveney in midfield and Rob Abbott and Mark English buzzing around up front.
Dave ‘Elmo’ McCarthy has starred in preseason while Jake Morton could be an ace in the deck, a Tasmanian state player who lined out for Scottish side Grange in the Euro Hockey League last year.
Games against Fingal and YMCA in the early phases of the season could set the tone for what kind of campaign they are set for.
First three games: Sept 14 – Fingal (h); Sept 21 – Monkstown (a); Sept 28 – YMCA (h)