Season Previews 2023/24 – Women

Ashton Hockey Club

Head Coach: Darren Wilkinson

Manager: Michelle Nagle

Assistant Coach: Reece Hawtrey

Position Last Season: 4th

Players in: Becky Oppermann (UCC)

Players out: Emily Nolan (UCC), Orlaith Nation (abroad), Robyn Murphy (UCC)

Captain: Ailse Holland

Vice Captain: Ciara O’Toole

Ambitions this season: We are aiming to compete at the top end of the league table and to get as far as we can in Munster and Irish cup competitions.

Key Player(s): Ciara O’Toole has been an important presence in midfield for the past few seasons and will play a key role again this year. Éabha Curran is getting better and better with each season. Her pace and skill will make her a constant threat in attack. Deirdre Ní Challanáin will be looking to have another strong season in the Ashton goal.

Rising Stars: Amy Noonan and Katie Toomey, who both represented Ireland U16s over the summer, will be players to watch this season. Both have impressed during preseason and will be looking to make an immediate impact as the season gets underway.

Darren Wilkinson: “I’m really looking forward to this season and seeing how we perform in what will be a very competitive league. Last season was challenging at times but preseason has gone well and we look to be in a good position going into the new season. The squad has a good blend of hugely talented schoolgirls and experienced players and I’m excited to see what this group can achieve.”


Bandon Hockey Club

Head coach: Pat Healy

Manager: Susan McCourt

Assistant Coach: n/a

Position Last Season: 5th

Players in: n/a

Players out: Jenny McLaughlin (UCC)

Captain: Rachel Barry

Vice Captain: Aisling O’Leary

Ambitions this season: This season we are aiming to shake things up in the league and cause some upset in the cup competitions.

Key Player(s): Ingrid Burns – her vision for the game and creativity when it comes to making plays means she is a force to be reckoned with.

Olivia Roycroft – with her pin point accuracy when it comes to goal scoring will certainly be leading the way for our younger players.

Maia McCourt – though young has proven herself to be a stalwart of our team, her speed and ability to control the ball in the most difficult of situations makes for exciting times when she is on the ball! Aoife Barrett – a work rate often unmatched added to her speed and control means Aoife will be a concern for the teams we face this season.

Rising Stars: Kate Collins, Kate’s first year playing senior hockey this year but her calm approach and silky skills means she is definitely going to play a key role in our team.

Pat Healy:  “We are very much looking forward to the season ahead; along with the opportunities and challenges that every new season brings. We have a younger squad overall this year with a number of experienced players unavailable due to Career, Family, Travel & College commitments. Preseason has gone well with a focus on physical preparation recently tapering to Technical & Tactical elements. Our goals are similar to last year and are predominantly performance based. I hope and expect that the girls will be 100 percenters, giving their best in every training session and match, use learnings, have fun and hopefully pick up some silverware along the way!”


Blackrock Hockey Club

Head coach: Paidi Hartnett

Position Last Season: 6th

Players in: Gill O’ Leary

Players out: Jess Higginbotham, Gene Dwyer

Captains: Sarah Dorney & Joelle O’ Connell

Vice Captain: Hilary O’ Connor

Ambitions this season: Blackrock look forward to their second season in Division 1, hoping to improve on their sixth place finish in the league last season. We aim to reach a cup final and are excited to compete in the Irish Hockey Trophy for the first time in the club’s history. We look forward to maintaining consistent competitiveness while also ensuring an enjoyable season for all.

Key Player(s): Squad depth is a key strength, with experience across all areas of the pitch. Méadhbh Lynch has made a significant impression on Division 1 hockey between the posts, and last year’s club award winners Val Banks and Fiona O’ Toole will be aiming to continue their form into the new season.

Rising Stars: This is an experienced side with a composed yet threatening style of play and fantastic team spirit. Cliona Barrett and Maeve O’ Callaghan made a significant impact last season upon joining the squad and will be sure to add to this year’s performances.

Paidi Hartnett: “The ambition this season is to be competitive in each game we play.  I’m looking forward to the season ahead and working with the group.”


Cork Church of Ireland Hockey Club

Head coach: Phil Oakley

Manager: Sarah Jones

Assistant Coach: Kay Gaffney

S&C: Brian O’Callaghan

Position Last Season: 3rd

Players in: Amy Stokes (UCC); Lucy Gale (UK)

Players out: Julie Coyne

Captain: Ciara Sexton

Vice Captain: TBC

Ambitions this season: Primary aim will be to stabilise the 1st team having lost 12 senior players across two seasons and support this by ensuring our 2nd team are promoted back to Division 2.

Key Player(s): Ciara Sexton: Ciara has been an integral part of the squad since joining C. of I. from UCC. She is capable of playing in numerous positions and has consistently been one of the highest scorers for the club. She will captain the team this year.

Rising Stars: Several underage players have broken into the first team in the last two seasons, establishing themselves as regulars. This season, players like Ruby Lehane and Olivia Woods will hopefully follow that trend and join the likes of Sally Murray in the first team squad.

Phil Oakley: “We are looking forward to the season and seeing what the squad can achieve. We have plenty of young players on the rise and will hopefully find the right balance with the more experienced players in the group.”


Cork Harlequins Hockey Club

Head Coaches: Clíodhna Sargent and Yvonne O’Byrne

Manager: Vanessa Sargent

Assistant Manager: Pat Sargent

Position Last Season: 1st in the League

Players in: Anne O’Farrell (UCC), Julia Browne

Players out: Amy Nangle (UCC), Julia McCarthy (UCC)

Co-Captains: Michelle Barry and Niamh Sexton

Ambitions this season: Our ambition is to be very competitive and hard to beat in both provincial and National competitions.

Key Player(s): Whilst the squad will be looking again to the leadership of Michelle Barry and Niamh Sexton, there are many key players in the squad that will play a huge role in the success our season.

Rising Stars: Top goalscorer from last season Beth-Anne O’Farrell will be one to keep an eye on again this season, alongside defenders Áine Power & Ruby Walsh. We have 5 players stepping up into the squad from the clubs youth section and we look forward to watching these players grow throughout the season.

Cliodhna / Yvonne: “We are looking forward to an enjoyable season with many competitive games. With two preseason games under our belts we have had a small opportunity to see some of the potential within our squad and we look forward to developing this further throughout the year.”


Crescent Hockey Club

Head Coach: John Meyler

Manager: Eamonn Byrne

Assistance Coach: Con Connolly

Position Last Season: Promoted from Div2

Players In: Emer Conroy (Limerick HC), Fay Graham (Loughborough University, UK)

Players Out: Orlaith Mahon (Exams/School Hockey)

Captain: Emily Scully

Vice Captain: Maria Campbell

Ambition this season: Crescent Ladies will play in Div1 for the 1st time in their brief history, having been promoted for three consecutive seasons going from Div4 to Div1. A special mention goes to former Irish Rugby International, Mick Fitzgibbon, one of the original founders of the club in 2009 who still does trojan work with Crescent HC.  Also we need to acknowledge our current Senior players, Clodagh Keane, sisters Roisin and Frederike O’Leary, Rebecca Dore and Saoirse Hanrahan who are tremendous ambassadors for the club, and have played for Crescent HC in all Divisions in the Munster Hockey League.  We plan to enjoy the season and to be competitive, being conscious we are representing our committee, club members, underage academy and all the ex-players and coaches who have contributed to this journey. The ambition for the year is for the team to develop and improve from last year. We have more depth in our squad with two new players joining our club this year. Zoe Page and Rebecca Dore are also returning from long term injuries.  A mid-table position in Div1 is a realistic target for the team.

Key Players: Recently capped O40 Irish player Emily Scully is our captain and the driving force in the team. She has shown tremendous loyalty to the club and played a critical role in getting our team promoted through the divisions. Overall the team is a very rounded solid mix of youth and experience and includes many players who have represented Munster at Interpro level. We have talented goal keepers with Alex Connole and Caoimhe Nestor.  Other key players include Bronagh Byrne, Amy Connolly, Maria Campbell and Ciara Brennan who are no strangers to playing hockey at a high level having represented Crescent College Comprehensive in The Kate Russell All Ireland Hockey finals. We have experienced players with Emma Wilson in defence and Sandra Rossiter in mid-field.

Rising Stars: The following School players: Alana Del Santo, Ava Kearney, Caoimhe Gaffney, Cliona Byrne, Elizabeth Scully, Niamh Murphy and Roisin O’Brien (U16 Irish International) played a key role last year in achieving promotion to Div1. We are looking forward to seeing these players continue to develop by playing both schools hockey and Ladies Div1. The performance of these players will be crucial to achieving our Div1 ambitions for the season.

John Meyler: “After an outstanding season last year and my first season with Crescent HC, I am very much looking forward to year ahead. This is another big step up for Crescent HC and one in which I believe both players and club members are ready for. Last season the team showed great character and really stepped up when they had to. Their commitment to training and games is one of the best I have been involved with and as a coach this is exactly what you need especially when you are stepping up to another division. Along with Eamonn and Con who assisted and helped me a lot last year we are all very excited about the season ahead.”


University College Cork Hockey Club

Head coach: David Hobbs

Manager: Colette Coomey

Interim Sports Development Officer: Sharon Hutchinson Interim Sports Development Officer

Other: Damien O Donoghue & Patrick Ryan – Strength and Conditioning Coaches

Players in:  Robyn Murphy, Emily Nolan (Ashton HC), Zahra Lowrey (Ulster Elks), Amy Nangle, Julia McCarthy (Cork Harlequins), Jenny McLoughin (Bandon HC), Leah Hayes (Belvedere HC)

Players out: Caoimhe Perdue (Loretto), Elva Kerr (Old Alex), Saoirse Griffin (Railway Union), Amy Stokes (Cork Church Of Ireland)

Captain: TBC

Vice Captain: TBC

Ambitions this season:  Finish top of Munster Senior League , retaining the Munster Senior Cup, aiming for promotion to EY1

Key Player(s):  With a young squad the eldest being 22, we will be looking at the more experienced players like Jane Murphy, Rebecca Kingston, Nikki Barry, Laurna McHugh , Abi O Mahony , Sarah Murphy to settle in the freshers who bring a lot a skill and energy to our squad from top clubs in Munster

Rising Stars: Jane Murphy has brought another level to preseason , with Micaela Sanderson excelling along with Lauren Cripps , we are excited to see what all the freshers will bring to the team this coming season, with congratulations to Robyn Murphy on being awarded a Quercus Scholarship.

David Hobbs: “We are very excited about the season ahead, we have a very young squad bringing a lot of talent and competition to the squad. Preseason is going very well as with all college sides with exam result and CAO offers being out so late is not ideal but thankfully all are happy.”


Waterford Hockey Club

Head coach: Stuart Greene

Manager: Billie Leslie

Position Last Season: 7th

Players in: None

Players out: Katie Earl, Zara Notley, Emma Beadle (All College), Katie Leslie (Kilkenny HC)

Captain: Vicki Moretti

Vice Captain: TBC

Ambitions this season: The club would like to consolidate their position in Division 1 and to try go on a cup run also. Like a lot of clubs numbers are small so we have had to fast track some of our younger members through. They are stepping up to the challenge so far which is great to see

Key Player(s): Vicki Moretti will drive things in Midfield. Our experienced senior players will lead by example.

Rising Stars: Ruby Madden (Munster U18s), Kyah Kelly, Katie Notley, and Evie Breen (Munster U16s)

Stuart Greene: I’m looking forward to the season ahead. It’s been great to see the progress on the girls/ladies side of the club. The club is now getting their reward with players being capped at U16 and U18 Interprovincial level. Hopefully the team can progress and develop and get to a high performing consistent regular way of playing.