The students, driven on by Irish internationals Julia O'Halloran and Hollie Moffett, have shaken a few feathers in Munster this term inflicting a first league defeat on Cork Harlequins in years as well as breaking their recent Cork C of I hoodoo win a cup win.
The innovative Railway side, in the meantime, look set to break the Loreto/Hermes duopoly in Leinster. Cecelia Joyce, Kate McKenna and Jean McDonnell are one of the liveliest strike forces around while there are rumours former Irish development panel player Kate Dillon could be nearing a first team return since returning from her travels.
If not, she may be involved in the second squad who follow the first team onto the Mardyke in the Junior Cup.
Of the Leinster-based sides, the undoubted highlight is Colin Stewart's Hermes facing UCD for the third time this season at St Andrews. The pair played out a lively scoreless draw at the same venue in November, hot on the heals of their IHL encounter which ended 3-2 in Hermes' favour.
Stewart's season has mainly involved nurturing through a lot of the young talent at the Booterstown club, attempting to mesh the young talents of Shelly Sloan, Sarah Greene, Gillian Pinder, Niamh Atcheler and Chloe Watkins - all in their first full season with the first squad - with the experienced heads of Linda Caulfield, and Jenny Burke.
UCD, meanwhile, welcome back international Roisin Flinn to the fray, to work in tandem with Lisa Jacob up front. Liz McInerney is also in following her time with the Ireland A panel.
Loreto travel to Santry for the second time this week - this time with a more spectator friendly tip-off time of 2.45pm. They should expect a slightly easier ride, too, with five internationals back in the fold though Zara Delany may not return in time due to injury.
There are long trips for Genesis (Armagh), Bray (Lisnagarvey) and Pembroke (Knock), while Corinthian will hope to reverse their league form with the visit of Victorians.
Elsewhere, the only other all-IHL clash pits Ballymoney with Cork Harlequins. An interesting test awaits Ards, too. Ulster's second placed side hosts the emerging Ulster Elks - complete with internationals Shirley McCay and Emma Clarke in their number.
They look well on course for promotion and a Winemark Shield final appearance shows they could do some damage to any higher division opposition.
Pegasus bid for a 14th title - and a third in a row - begins in the second round; they have a bye along with Alex, Glenanne, Belfast Harlequins and Cork C of I.
Irish Senior Cup
Round One (Saturday): Ballymoney v Cork Harlequins, 2.30pm, Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre; Armagh v Genesis, 2.30pm, Ardmore; Knock v Pembroke Wanderers, 1pm, Balmoral; Lisnagarvey v Bray, 2.30pm, Hillsborough; Dublin University v Loreto, 2.45pm, Santry; Corinthian v Victorians, 3.45pm, Whitechurch; Randalstown v Cookstown, 2.30pm, Antrim Forum; Ards v Ulster Elks, 1.30pm, Ards; Catholic Institute v Lurgan 12pm, Greenfields; Hermes v UCD, 2.30pm, St Andrews; UCC v Railway Union, 12pm, Mardyke
Byes to round 2: Belfast Harlequins, Glenanne, Old Alex, Pegasus, Cork C of I
ESB Women’s Irish Junior Cup
Round 2 (Saturday): UCC vs Railway Union, 2pm, Mardyke