Last season: 4th, Neville Cup semi-final, ISC second round, Mills Cup first round
Coach: Rory O’Donoghue (3rd year)
In: Peter Brown (Banbridge), Kirk Shimmins (Pembroke), Peter Purcell (Annadale)
Out: Patrick Shanahan (Pembroke), Keith Kenning (Monkstown), Jordan Sutton (Corinthian), Paul Fitzpatrick (TRR)
The lowdown: While Peter Brown and Kirk Shimmins are among two of the biggest moves of the summer, the third addition to UCD’s squad may be the most important. From a squad that lost a couple of defensive options in Keith Kenning and Paul Fitzpatrick, former Annadale skipper Peter Purcell – who is doing a masters in Dublin – is a top addition.
They have an embarrassment of riches in midfield with international duo Brown and Shimmins adding to Shane O’Donoghue, Luke Chadwick, Nick Burns and Jeremy Duncan. It means Conor Motyer could be pushed into the back four.
Retaining Clinton Sweetnam is another important step though he has only been in Dublin for a couple of days. Indeed, the costs of student-life mean that many have only returned recently to Dublin after extended work sojourns.
Nonetheless, they did well at their home tournament last weekend, beating Glenanne, Cork C of I and UCC before losing to Instonians. Other than that, preseason friendlies have been primarily on an eight versus eight format.
Last season was a revelation from the students’ perspective, out-doing their best ever finish in Leinster by quite a distance. And, with many of their more experienced players staying on and going into either third or fourth years with the club, they have the potential to go on further.
First three games: Sept 21 – YMCA (a); Sept 28 – TRR (a); tbc – Monkstown (h)