Last season: 7th, IHL group stages, Neville Cup semi-finals, Mills Cup semi-finals, ISC quarter-finals
Coach: Stephen Barry (3rd year)
In: Jaco Fourie (Corinthian)
Out: Ian McHugh (Australia), Krystian Makowski (Poland), Josh Purcell (Rathgar), Jonny Bruton (Three Rock Rovers)
The lowdown: It has been a rough summer for YMCA who will be without four of their leading lights of last term, meaning some of their younger charges will need to take on more leadership responsibilities. Their top two scorers have departed, Krystian Makowski returning to Poland and Jonny Bruton switching to Three Rock, while defensive lynch-pin Ian McHugh is homeward bound too.
In addition, David Robinson has taken a year out, moving to France this week where he will go on to work a ski-season. Justin Sherriff, meanwhile, was penciled in to be player-assistant coach but a job offer with UCD’s hockey programme meant he vacated the role.
It leaves the side scrambling a little bit but there is still an experienced core to the side with Andy Walker captaining the side. Iain Walker was one of last season’s best players across the league in nets and Jaco Fourie is a decent addition. Dash Hewett can be a huge bonus for the side if he stays injury-free for the season, an affliction that was rife in 2012/13.
They need the likes of Jamie Tobin, Rob Whelan and Ben Campbell to step up to push for the Irish Hockey League berths. Preseason has been decent with just one loss from six games. This included wins over Fingal, Railway, Kilkeel and Corinthian, a draw with Scotland’s Clydesdale before falling Lisnagarvey last weekend.
First three games: Sept 14 – Pembroke (h); Sept 21 – UCD (h); Sept 28 – Railway Union (a)