Lisnagarvey scored the big win as they struck twice in the second half to beat another of last year’s playoff sides; TRR and Bann won comfortably while Glenanne and Pembroke won narrow battles
Cork Harlequins came from a goal down to beat UCD and end their incredible unbeaten run in the women’s EYHL; Ulster trio win their ties against Leinster outfits as Loreto and Railway draw
To be a great champion, teams need great rivals. For UCD last season, while they won the three national titles on offer, it was the close margins that made their success so significant last season.
Along with Belfast Harlequins, Pembroke have made probably the most exciting additions during the summer and they will be one of the sides to watch
The (almost) all-conquering champions will take the field for the new season as one of the clear favourites for the three national titles this time around
Trinity moved up to the EY Hockey League for the first time in a blaze of glory following an immaculate season, winning the Leinster league unbeaten, adding the Jacqui Potter Shield and, eventually, the promotion playoffs
Railway Union will look to close the gap to the top four following a fifth place finish last season, seven points off the playoff places, and a Jacqui Potter Cup success.
The arrival of Shirley McCay, Irish women’s sport’s most capped player, from Ulster Elks is one of the moves of the summer and gives Pegasus a hugely experienced operator and leader
After a slow start to last season with one win in their first five games, the Beaufort side finished with four straight wins to cap a fine regular season.
A big turnover in players over the summer will see a lot of youth get their chance this year as Hermes-Monkstown look to consolidate and rebuild.
A third place finish in the EYHL and an Irish Senior Cup final showed real progression for the Cork side last year and they will look to build further on that with a settled side for 2017/18
Belfast Harlequins are very excited abut the upcoming season with the new signings and returning players with Irish internationals Lizzie Colvin and Zoe Wilson certainly the ones to catch the eye.
Ards enjoyed a streaky season last time around, losing their first three before winning four in-a-row, a run of results that ultimately meant they ended up safe in mid-table without any major threat of relegation or a playoff spot.
After a couple of weeks delay, the men’s EY Hockey League tips off on Saturday with the race to be the third champion of the national league starting in earnest.
Three Rock will certainly not have the element of surprise with them this season as they enter the season as the reigning EY Champions Trophy winners.
It’s difficult to know quite to make of the squad available to Alan Browne for his first season as Railway Union coach following a glut of players coming in and out during the summer.
With six new arrivals, Jonny Caren’s Pembroke have their sights firmly set on closing the gap to the top four after a season in mid-table last time around.
With Lee Cole and Kyle Good not around for the season, Monkstown will be a side with a number of opportunities for young players to stake their claim in their panel on an ongoing basis for the new season.
The 2016 national champions go into the season as one of the main contenders for the title once again with a wealth of top class talent.
A large influx of players has strengthened Glenanne whose squad was a little thin at times last season and should see them and their second string have more numbers to make a sustained push for the playoff places