10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The draw for the AIB Cup draw took place in the AIB Corporate Box at Lansdowne Road at noon today, and it threw up some enticing fixtures.
IRFU President Peter Boyle stressed the importance of the club game to those at the draw, saying: "The importance of club rugby to Irish rugby cannot be highlighted often enough and I reaffirm here my own committment and that of the IRFU to strive to preserve and enhance the club game in Ireland.
"The AIB Cup, together with the Junior Cup, is one of the most appealing parts of the IRFU/AIB Community Rugby programme. A knock-out competition with representatives from all four provinces should certainly throw up some interesting ties."
He was proven right with defending champions Cork Constitution drawn against their AIB League Division One cohorts Lansdowne in the AIB Cup preliminary round. The winners will go on to face St. Mary's College in the first round proper.
Division One champions Shannon and last season's beaten league finalists Clontarf have been drawn together in a mouth-watering 'return match.' Meanwhile, the pride of west Cork will be pitted against county Wicklow when Clonakilty host to Greystones.
2006/07 AIB CUP DRAW:
- PRELIMINARY ROUND - NOVEMBER 25/26 -
Cork Constitution v Lansdowne
- ROUND ONE - JANUARY 12/13 -
Clonakilty v Greystones
St. Mary's College v Cork Constitution/Lansdowne
Shannon v Clontarf
Ballymena v UCD
Galwegians v Dungannon
Belfast Harlequins v Nenagh Ormond
Garryowen v Buccaneers
Terenure College v Malone
Following the completion of the first round, the winning teams will again be entered into an open draw in January for the AIB Cup quarter-finals, which will be played on February 3/4, 2007.
The winning teams from the quarter-finals will go into a third open draw for the semi-finals, which will be played on Saturday, March 31, culminating with the AIB Cup Final on Saturday April, 14.