DIVISION ONE 2006 / 07 Clubs : Leinster b 6, Munster b 5, Ulster b 3, Connacht b 2 Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 BALLYMENA 3rd 5th 5th 10th Div. One Champs 02 / 03 15th 8 homes / 7 aways President: Ian McIlrath Captain : Bob Young Coaches: Jacques Benade ( SA) , Peter Millar, David Smyth Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Paddy Wallace ( 98 ), Dirk Strydom ( 67 ) . Tries b Scott Young ( 6 ) Notes: Adam Larkin has moved to Dungannon and both Henry Head and Michael McComish have gone to Rotherham Earth Titans. Still, an intake of twelve players including Chris Henry ( Malone ) Glenn Moore ( QUB ), Tom Court ( Ireland A ) and Jonny Burgess ( Malone ) should compensate for this. Now a naturalised citizen, Dirk Strydom will continue to take the kicks. Former Ireland v Japan ( 1985 ) scrum half Rab Brady takes over as Chairman while Sam McGreer acts as team manager for the 15th season. Four trips to Leinster wonbt appeal but at least therebs no long haul to Connacht this season. Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 B. HARLEQUINS 6th 3rd 3rd 6th Runner-up Div. One 04 / 05 5th 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: Ronnie Gregg Capt. : Keith Pyper Coach: Andy Ward ( NZ) Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b M Glancy ( 123 ) Tries b Mark Kettyle ( 5 ), Darren Cave ( 5 ) Notes: Andy Ward starts his second season as head coach. The b.Quins are currently top of the Ulster Senior League having beaten Ballymena 17-16 in round Four one month ago. No. 8 Chris McCarthy has hit a rich vein of form and Scrum half Paul Marshall, signed from Ballynahinch., has already made his mark. Skipper Keith Pyper will take charge of the kicks this season. Have a well-balanced fixture schedule ahead of them with two visits to Limerick and one to Cork. Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 BLACKROCK C. 11th 6th 10th 13th Div. One Runner-up 94 / 95 13th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Job Langbroek Capt. : Owen Cullen Co-coaches: Emmet Farrell and Barry Gibney Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Paddy ObToole (73) Tries b Fionn Carr ( 4 ) Notes: Last seasonbs assistant coaches, former Leinster flanker Barry Gibney and former Ireland A out half Emmet Farrell, are in charge this season. There has been a big clear-out in personnel but equally an impressive list of captures. Young Luke Fitzgerald heads this list and it will be interesting to see what game time he gets. Try-scoring hooker James Mannion returns from Corinthians and flanker Richard Woods arrives back from England. The president won an Ireland cap at prop forward during the first Rugby World Cup in Australia ( 1987 ). Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 BUCCANEERS 4th 4th 11th 6th Div. One play-offs 02/03, 03/04 9th 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: Greg McInerney Capt. : Conor Hartigan Coaches: Geoff Moylan, Tony Dolan Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Tom Cregan ( 185 ) Tries b Trevor Richardson ( 4 ) Notes: After joining from Garryowen only twelve months ago, Conor Hartigan was named Player of the Year and has been appointed captain for 2006 / 07. David Quinlan, captain of Irelandbs AIB club international side last season, has returned to Shannon and backs Paddy ObSullivan and Sean Brady have both gone to the UK. Half the Connacht squad are on the books as well as Pat Cunningham last seasons captain of Corinthians. Munster U 20 coach Geoff Moylan is again on board as coach. Buccaneers donbt have to travel to Cork this season but must pay two visits to Limerick. Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 CLONTARF 1st 8th 4th 2nd Cbship runner-up 02/03 & 05/06 10th 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: Paul McLaughlin Capt. : Fiach ObLoughlin Coaches: Phil Werahiko ( NZ ), Andy Wood (NZ) Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Darragh ObShea (107) Tries b Derek Keane ( 13 ), Niall ObBrien ( 10 ) Notes: Five from the club featured in Irelandbs first AIB club international ( v Scotland ) last season and four remain with scrum half Fiach ObLoughlin named captain after one season in from Shannon. Prop Robert b.Chopsb Sweeney returns to his St. Marys roots. Matt Nethery joins from Randwick in New South Wales. Cian Healy and Brian Collins are exciting young additions to the squad. Leinsterbs top AIBL club over the past two seasons will again be strong contenders this season. Four homes to Leinster clubs is a bonus but four visits to Munster, including two to Cork before Christmas, will keep the Dublin 3 boys on their toes this season. Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 CORK CONS 9th 1st 8th 3rd twice Champs 90/91, 98/99 17th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Colm b.Collieb Murphy Capt. : Frank Cogan Coaches: Brian Walsh, Terry Kingston Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Darragh Lyons (89) Tries b Cronan Healy ( 8 ), Richie Lane ( 7 ) Notes: Will again be skippered by former Ireland U 19 flanker Frank Cogan and retain the same coaching personnel from last season. The inaugural AIB Cup winners lost out at the AIBL semi-final stage last season. The Temple Hill club has recruited eight senior players from UCC including Munster-capped Denis Hurley, Ross Noonan and Timmy Ryan. But seven young players have moved in the opposite direction and Constitution will struggle to field an U 20 side this season. Touche. Cons must leave Cork seven times this season to play AIBL rugby. Div. Two League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 DOLPHIN 1st -- 4th 2nd 97/98, 03/04 in Div. One 3rd 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: Dave ObReagan Capt. : Rory McGrath Coaches: David ObMahony, Peter Scott Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points Barry Keeshan ( 176) Tries James Coughlan ( 10) Notes: The co-tenants at Musgrave Park have arrived back into the first division for the third time in their AIBL history. On the two previous occasions they were relegated after one season in the top flight. The club lost out badly on recruitment over the summer as question marks were raised over their promotion into Division One. Nonetheless, Eric Moloney and Henry ObFlynn look useful acquisitions. John ObMahony has returned from his travels. The president and captain this season are both members of an Garda Siochana. Dolphin have inherited Trinitybs fixtures and must fulfil three AIBL fixtures in Ulster, all before Christmas. Has anyone out there got a loan of 5000 euro ? Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 DUNGANNON 12th 12th 7th 12th Div. One Champs in 2000/ 01 13th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Fred McManus Capt.: Paul Magee Coaches: Jeremy Davidson, Jonny Bell Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Gareth Steenson ( 138 ) Tries b Tyrone Howe ( 8 ) Notes: That demon tackler of yore, fiery Fred McManus is president this season. Ulster centenarian Tyrone Howe has returned to his roots at Banbridge, Shane Stewart has teamed up with N/G Dragons and Gareth Steenson has gone to England. Among an interesting group of 14 recruits are Richard McCarter ( from City of Derry ), Ireland A prop Declan Fitzpatrick ( from B. Harlequins ) and Thomas Anderson, son of Willie, ( from QUB ). Dungannon toured Canada in August and are well bonded at this stage. Dungannon hope that they will not be required to stack the Ulster bench once again this season. Jonny Bell will act as assistant coach to Jeremy Davidson but his services ( as well as those of Tim Barker and Declan Fitzpatrick ) may be curtailed as he has since picked up a part-time playing contract with Ulster. Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures
02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 GALWEGIANS 7th 13th 9th 14th Div One runner-up 2000 / 01 8th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Danno Heaslip Capt. : Ambrose Conboy Coach: Paul Young ( WAL ) Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Ben Bartley (58) Tries b Ambrose Conboy (5) Notes: Galwegians have registered 17 new players for this coming season. Connacht squaddies b Mark McHugh, Conor McPhillips, Brendan ObConnor and Keith Matthews b are now enlisted. These players will no longer be allowed to travel outside the province to play on an AIBL weekend. Paddy ObToole returns west from Blackrock. If Connacht suffer few injuries this season, Galwegians will be a really strong outfit. They have already won the 2006 / 07 Connacht Senior League. The president, captain and coach are all unchanged from last season. Galwegians have a nicely balanced fixture list with four of their final five AIBL games down for decision at Crowley Park. Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 GARRYOWEN 8th 7th 2nd 1st twice Champs 91/92, 93/94 17th 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: Billy Purcell Capt. : Paul Neville Coaches: Paul Cunningham, Killian Keane, Darragh ObSullivan Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Conor Kilroy ( 139 ) Tries b Ciaran ObBoyle ( 11 ) Notes: Former Connacht flanker Paul Neville will captain the Sky Blues this season, Paul Burke, Paul Devlin, Fosi Palabamo and Alan Purcell, son of the president Billy, have all left Dooradoyle but Eoghan Hickey ( ex UCD ), Chris Wyatt ( ex Llanelli ), Eugene McGovern ( ex Old Crescent ) and Federico Quaglia ( from Argentina ) are useful acquisitions. It is noted that ten players from the Grryowen Academy got a run on the senior side last season. After the departure of appointed coach Rob Henderson to Toulouse last June, Paul Cunningham again helps out by picking up the coaching reins for a third season ; this time, Killian Keane appears as backs coach. Last seasonbs League winners start with two games against Ulster clubs and will prepare for these matches with a weekend training camp in Castlebar. Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 LANSDOWNE 2nd 11th 14th 8th runner-up in 96/97, 99/2K 16th 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: Aidan Delany Capt. : Dave Lavin Coaches: Liam Toland, Mana Ashford ( NZ ) Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Corey Burt ( 175 ) Tries b Fiachra Baynes ( 5 ) Notes: The headquarters club have benefited most from Trintybs relegation into Division Two. Donal Crotty, Paul Doran-Jones and Marc Warburton have arrived in from the student club. Itbs a bit like old times. Kiwi Mana Ashford has replaced Corey Burt at out half. The Irish Army has taken over Lansdowne this season with the appointment of two army officers as head coach ( Liam Toland ) and captain ( Dave Lavin ). The big question this season is where Lansdowne will play their home games once the re-development of the stadium proceeds. Lansdowne donbt have to travel across the river Shannon in the AIBL this season. Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 St. MARYS C. 10th 14th -- 11th Div. One Champs 1999 / 2K 16th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: John Pyne Capt. : Barry Lynn Coaches: Steven Hennessy (DOR), Peter Smyth (head coach ) Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Jono Sexton (133) Tries b Jono Sexton ( 8 ) Notes: Have started the season with a bang under the coaching of Steven Hennessy and Peter Smyth who are both on board for the third consecutive season. Connacht contracted players Mark McHugh and Conor McPhillips will not be available this season as Connacht have ushered them to the Galwegians club. Hugh Hogan and Matt Dbarcy from Trinity and Stephen Grissing from UCD have impressed in the early season while the return of Robert b.Chopsb Sweeney from Clontarf increases the front row options. The b.captains curseb has again struck St. Marys as Barry Lynn will be out injured for a long time. St. Marys undertake one trip to Limerick and one trip to Cork this AIBL season, both games scheduled for a Sunday. Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 SHANNON 5th 2nd 1st 4th eight times Champs 17th 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: John Leahy Capt. : Colm McMahon Coaches: Mick Galwey, Ian Sherwin Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b David Delaney (118), Andrew Thompson ( 77) Tries b Brian Tuohy (7), David ObDonovan ( 6 ) Notes: The 2005 / 06 champions have won 50% of the Division One League competitions since the All Ireland League began and this season embark on achieving a second four-in-a-row championship successes. Irelandbs premier club are once more hit hard by players moving on. Eoin Cahill, John ObConnor, David Keane, Brian Tuohy and David Delaney are just five who will not be strutting their stuff at Thomond Park this season. An intake of ten players ( including former captain David Quinlan, back from Buccaneers and Andrew Finn in from Garryowen ) just might be enough to keep the smile on coach Mick Galweybs face but it will be a hard ask this season. And if I remember correctly, werenbt there negative vibes circulating about Shannon at the beginning of last season also. Div. Two League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 TERENURE C. -- 9th 8th 1st seven seasons (96 b 03) in Div. One 8th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Declan ObSullivan Capt. : Dermot Quinn Coaches: Kevin West (NZ), James Blaney Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b David McAllister (168) Tries b James Blaney ( 17 ), Brian Flanagan (8), Alex Dunlop ( 8 ) Notes: Out half and kicker David McAllister has departed for LbAquila in Italy but Adam Hughes, an arrival from Barnhall, has proven he can kick a few points. The same coaching team that brought Terenure back into Division One after three seasons in Two is at the helm again this season. One wonders if hooker James Blaney will be able to match his try haul of last season now that the opposition will be of a stronger nature. Derek arrives back from his travels. Watch centre Killian Coleman make an impact if he remains free of injury. The Dublin 6 W club have a nicely-balanced fixture list with one visit to both Limerick and Cork and two trips to Ulster. Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 UCD 14th 10th 6th 9th 6th in Div. One 01/02, 04/05 6th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Alex Spain Capt. : Conor Geoghegan Coaches: Dara Rowley, Bobby Byrne, Aidan Kenna Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Eoin Hickey (103) Tries b Stephen Grissing (5) Notes: Have lost five b.matureb students in the shapes of Eoghan Hickey ( to Garryowen ) , Brian ObRiordan and David Blaney ( both to Bristol ) and Stephen Grissing ( to St. Marys ). Nevertheless, the UCD Academy, under the direction of John b.Docb McClean, continues to act successfully as a conveyor belt for the senior squad. The same coaching team as last season includes Bobby Byrne, former Leinster assistant coach to Declan Kidney and current Ireland U 19 coach. The president this season, ( a former flanker ) was the captain of the UCD club back in 1953 / 54, all of fifty two years ago. Makes you feel young, doesnbt it ? Div. One League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. One in 2006/07 UL-BOHEMIAN 15th -- -- 5th Div. Two Champs 04/05 3rd 8 homes / 7 aways Joint Pres: Joe Sheahan/ Roger Downer Capt: Colman Finn Coaches: Mike Tewkesbury (ENG)(DOR), Ian Costello Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Ben Martin (134) Tries b Ben Martin (9) Notes: Former UL-Bohs player Ian Costello returns after coaching Kilfeacle to head up Mike Tewksburybs coaching team this season. Fresh from an early season tour to Liverpool, a super-fit UL-Bohs certainly hit the ground running in September and having beaten Garryowen took the Limerick Cup off Shannon . Expert big things from Ben Martin, Martin McPhail et al this season. Connacht three-quarter Keith Matthews has gone to Galwegians and will be a loss. UL-Bohs must undertake four trips to Leinster this season and in fact have Leinster club opposition in their first four games.
Ireland captain Rory Best and forwards coach Simon Easterby spoke to the media at the Captain's Run press conference in Paris earlier today, ahead of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations clash with France on Saturday.
Looking forward to locking horns with France, Conor Murray said: "I know with the type of players and type of game Guy Noves likes to play, they can throw up anything. We've got to be ready for any style of game, an offloading game, a free-flowing game."
Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby chats about sharing the defence coaching duties, Sean O'Brien (tight hamstring) sitting out Wednesday's training session and also talks about the strength of the Welsh back row.
Andrew Trimble talks about coming back from injury to make Ireland's RBS 6 Nations squad and dealing with the excitement and nervousness ahead of a big game like Sunday's Championship opener against Wales.
We hear from returning front rowers Adam McBurney and Conan O'Donnell, captain James Ryan and fellow newcomer Paul Kiernan as the Ireland Under-20s look forward to opening the U-20 RBS 6 Nations on Friday night against Wales at their new home of Donnybrook.
Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong spoke about the excitement of facing his first RBS 6 Nations campaign, the challenge of scrummaging against Wales and his earliest memories of the Championship - which include apple pie!