The defending champions surprised many when their late surge saw them come up on the rails to clinch the title.
They will benefit from having George Dockrell for the entire season as he's not playing with Trinity, and he also appears to be out of favour for international recognition too.
Dockrell has taken the skipper's armband and he expects a tough campaign with little to separate the eight teams vying for the coveted trophy.
"I think this year will be another incredibly competitive season with Merrion's promotion adding to what was a fantastic league last year," said Dockrell.
"We are all very excited at Rathmines for it all to begin and for us to try and retain the title."
Their decision not to engage an overseas player is a brave move, and you feel it may mean they are more likely to be involved in a relegation battle than a title race. That said they obviously have a tremendous team spirit at the club and you write them off at your peril. They have proved the doubters wrong before and will be keen to fly under the radar once again.
Leinster being their title defence with an away trip to Clontarf on April 21st, followed by a home clash with Pembroke the following week.