DIVISION THREE 2006 / 07 Clubs : Ulster b 8, Munster b 4, Leinster b 2, Connacht b 2 Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 ARDS -- 4th 5th 14th Div. Three Final 03/04 5th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Philip Gill Capt. : Michael Creighton Coaches: Mervyn Tweed, AJ Derwin Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b AJ Derwin (121) Tries b Andy Park ( 8 ) Notes: As the record shows, Ards did not enjoy much success last season. Over the summer, out half, Stuart Paul moved to Ballymena and back row Barro Kessler to Banbridge while Neill Beggs, Blair Morrow, John McDowell, Nopera Stewart, Ryan Thompson and Tenari Faglina have been recruited. Flanker Michael Creighton, who captained the club to the 2004 Division Three Championship final, is captain for the third time. The peninsula club play both Leinster clubs away but donbt have to undertake a long trip to Connacht this season. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 BALLYNAHINCH 6th 10th 9th Div Three Champs 99/2K 7th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Trevor Johnston Capt. : John Gunson Coaches: Daniel Soper ( NZ), Derek Suffern Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Ross Soper (74) Tries b Paul Marshall (8) Notes: Ballynahinch are back in the third division this season after six campaigns in the second flight. Promising scrum half Paul Marshall has left for B. Harlequins while Mark Scott has moved to Dungannon. Adam Bartholomew and Aaron Ferris both join from Queens while a kiwi Peter Connell has also signed on. John Gunson has been appointed captain while Daniel Soper ( now recovered from a broken leg ) moves in from Banbridge as player coach with Derek Suffern as his assistant. Like Ards, b.Hinch have no trip to Connacht this season but must travel to meet the two Leinster clubs in the division. Ballynahinch are the only club of the 48 AIBL clubs with eight homes and seven Aways like 2005 / 06. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 BANBRIDGE 7th 8th 15th 12th 7th in Div. Three 00/01, 02/03 7th 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: Bill Ferris Capt. : Andrew Kennedy Coaches: Brian Leslie, Ray Stevenson, Robbie Ervine Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Neville Farr (73) Tries b Gareth Martin (5) Notes: Banbridge play their seventh season in Div. Three and have recruited eleven players over the summer. International wing Tyrone Howe joins from Dungannon. Colin Bickerstaff, Jeffrey Dodds and Stuart Wilson arrive in from England and Jonny Martin links up from Queens. Brian Leslie again heads up the coaching team. Hooker Dale Carson is a big loss ; on job relocation he has moved to Clontarf in Dublin Banbridge have a nicely balanced AIBL fixture list. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 BRUFF -- -- 11th 4th Semi-final last season 3rd 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: Ger Malone Capt. : Brendan Deady Coaches: Eugene Murnane ( WAL), Eoin Cahill Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Brian Carroll (122) Tries b Iona Sipa (5) Notes: About to start their third season in Div. Three, Bruff have a marvellous record away in Ulster. They have travelled to the northern province on seven AIBL occasions and lost only once. Brendan Deady is this seasonbs captain while Ger Malone has been re-elected president. Local lad Eoin Cahill arrives back from Shannon with an enhanced reputation. He will assist Eugene Murnane as backs coach during the season. The fixtures planner has not been unkind to Bruff this season for they get to play both Div. Three Connacht clubs at home in Co. Limerick. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 CITY OF DERRY 10th 3rd 8th 11th 4th in Div. Two 97/98 8th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres:Andrew McCartney Capt. : Stephen Corr Coaches: Gerald McCarter, Peter Gault Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Richard McCarter (140) Tries b Richard McCarter (7) Notes: City of Derry will undertake their fifth consecutive campaign in Div. Three this coming season. A big loss is the transfer of out half Richard McCarter, son of the coach, to Dungannon. Former U-20 captain Stephen Corr becomes club captain for the season. One wonders if Stephen Smyth ( last season he came the fourth player to top 50 tries in the AIBL ) and Ian Orr will get among the touchdowns again this season. Derry must travel twice way out west to Connacht this season but have three homes to clubs from Munster. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 CONNEMARA 8th 11th 6th 13th Div. Three Champs 01/02 6th 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: John Sheridan Capt. : Gerard Burke Coaches: Eamonn Molloy, Bernard Keaney Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Eamonn Molloy (56) Tries b Michael Aspell(3) Notes: The b.All Blacksb, who won the Div. Three Championship at the first time of asking in 2001 / 02, compete this season in the AIBL for the sixth time. Problems have appeared at the club because the senior squad have all grown old together and emerging talent is thin on the ground. John Sheridan has started his second term in the presidential office while Eamonn Molloy is once again the player coach. Problem here is that Molloy has other coaching commitments in the province this season. Connemara advertised for a player coach but there were no suitable applicants. In the meantime, the most westerly senior club in Europe will entertain five Ulster clubs at the scenic Monastery Field in Clifden this season. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 CORINTHIANS 4th 15th 10th 7th Div. Three S-F 02/03 13th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Enda MacGowan Capt. : Mark Koubrides ( NZ ) Coaches: Brendan Duffy, Rickey Evans Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Julian Leonard (61) Tries b Pat Cunningham (6) Notes: Corinthians, in at the beginning in Division Two in 1990 / 91, play this season for the eleventh consecutive time in Division Three. Last seasonbs captain Pat Cunningham has moved to Buccaneers along with Danny Riordan. The South Africans in last seasonbs ranks have returned home and the Nelson Mandela Stadium sign has been removed from the entrance to the ground. Scrum half Mark Koubrides ( NZ ) has been appointed captain while Dave Gilmartin and Cian Begley return to the club. Two local Co. Galway coaches have been assigned the coaching duties. Newly-elected president Enda MacGowan has been successfully running the corporate show at the club for the past few seasons. Corinthians have been presented a nicely balanced itinerary in Division Three this season. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 INSTONIANS 2nd 6th 3rd 5th Five season in Div. One 9th 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: Jim Keith Capt. : Kenny Morton Coaches: Clem Boyd ( DOR ), Niall Malone Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Niall Malone (118) Tries b Andrew Hassard (5) Notes: One-time first division club Instonians begin their ninth successive campaign in Division Three in two weeks time. In the off-season, Mark Hill and David Drake both departed for Division One rugby at Ballymena while David ObHara and Gavin Harper migrated in the opposite direction. Former Ulster players, Clem Boyd and Niall Malone ( two Ireland caps ) again head up the coaching operation while second row Kenny Morton is appointed captain for a second term. Retired teacher, Jim Keith OBE is the president b he still togs out regularly with the Perennials in the veterans grade. b.Instb have been dealt a pretty reasonable deck of AIBL fixtures this season.
Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 NENAGH -- -- -- 6th Round Robin Winners 04/05 2nd 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Billy McNamara Capt. : Trevor Powell Coaches: Noel ObMeara, Tony Gregan Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Gerhard Boshoff ( 92 ) Tries b Trevor Powell ( 4 ) Notes: Nenagh commence their second AIBL season with Billy McNamara as the president. Billy, a former scrum half, was first team manager for a number of years. John Lillis has stepped down as head coach and is replaced by his assistant Noel ObMeara. ObMeara won an AIL medal back in 1992 / 93 in the Young Munster second row. Nenagh are delighted this season to welcome back three local lads from Galwegians b Ivan Muldoon, Brian McClernan and John Burke. A South African out half has been recruited as the foreign player b at the time of writing the playerbs luggage had arrived in Nenagh but there was no sign of him. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 O. WESLEY 5th 10th 14th 8th Six seasons ( 91/97) Div. One 7th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Peter Acton Capt. : Dave Smith Coaches: Ray Walker, Brian Moore, Andrew Leeson Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b David Smith (135) Tries b Kurt Steinbeck ( 5 ) Notes: Old Wesley commence their sixth consecutive Div. Three campaign in two weeks time. Four recruits from St. Marys include Jonny Ellis who should make an impact. Ellis captained St. Marys to win the Leinster U-20 Cup a few years back. Schoolmaster Ray Walker continues as head coach while David Smith from Enniscorthy is the new skipper behind a pack which includes four Wallace first cousins. Wesob had their best finish last season for some years due mainly to the appointment after Christmas of a sports psychologist to the senior squad management. The D 4 club are not required to cross the river Shannon this season but there are five trips to Ulster between now and the middle of next April. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 PORTADOWN -- 14th 16th 15th 7th in Div Two 98 / 99 7th 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: Eric Boyce Capt. : Diarmaid ObKane Coaches: Hika Reid ( NZ ), Sheldon Coulter Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Colin Lawson (126) Tries b Craig Woods (5) Notes: Portadown, performing in the nether regions of Div. Three over the past three seasons, have secured the services of former All Black hooker Hika Reid ( nine Tests ) as their coaching guru this season. Diarmaid ObKane, son of former president Aidan, continues as captain. Simon Cahill from Malone is among five new signings this season. Arthur Going and Barry Gribben are set to share the kicking duties over the next seven months. Portadown have a handy fixture list but have to make a long trip to Connemara at the beginning of November. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 QUB 13th 5th 13th 10th 5th in Div. Three 03/04 7th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Simon Harland Capt. : Timmy Smith Coaches: Keith Patton, Neil Doak, Robbie Moore Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Mark Robinson (69) Tries b Michael Barker (8) Notes: Former senior XV second row Simon Harland is president again this season. Keith Patton, recent Ireland Schools and Ireland U 19s coach continues as club coach aided and abetted by Neil Doak and long-serving Queens supremo Robbie Moore. Queens have once more lost a clatter of players to Ulsterbs adult clubs including Glenn Moore, James Ritchie ( to Ballymena ), Thomas Anderson, Melvin Ferry ( to Dungannon ), Adam Bartholomew, Aaron Ferris ( to Ballynahinch ) and Jonny Martin to Banbridge. David Pollock, last seasonbs Ireland U-19 captain, has just got the call up into this seasonbs Ulster Heineken Cup squad. The club management hope that a sizeable number of the Ulster underage squaddies will register with them before the 1st October deadline for university clubs. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 RAINEY OB -- -- -- won 05/06 Round Robin 7 homes / 8 aways Pres: Alan b.RakerbMcLean Capt. : Nial ObKane Coaches: John Andrews, Michael Glancy Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Tries b Notes: The newcomers to the AIB League this season, Rainey Old Boys qualified by finishing top of last seasonbs junior clubs inter-provincial Round Robin. The Magherafelt Co. Derry club become the 16th junior club to be elevated into the AIBL. They have again installed Alan b.Rakerb McLean ( he played two games on the 1979 Ireland tour to Australia ) as their president again. John Andrews continues as head coach assisted by Michael Glancy, recruited from B. Harlequins. Glancy along with John McMurray will take the kicks this season. Rainey donbt have to travel to Leinster this season but trips to Cork, Waterford and two to Connacht should test the clubbs rsolved. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 SUNDAYS WELL -- -- 7th 9th Div. One 94/95 3rd 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Nicky Comyn Capt. : Padraig Sisk Coaches: Ken ObConnell, John ObNeill Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Jon Lynch (127) Tries b Mark Purcell (5) Notes: Playing for a third consecutive season in Division Three Sundays Well are celebrating their Centenary this season. The popular Nicky Comyn, president two seasons back returns as the centenary president. b.The Wellb have appointed former Ireland flanker ( two caps ) Ken ObConnell as head coach; ObConnell was club captain for three seasons in the early days of the AIBL. Prop Padraig Sisk, who has played more than 100 AIBL games for the club, has been elected captain. The fixture list involves two long trips to Connacht to play Connemara and Corinthians. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 WANDERERS 3rd 7th 12th 3rd 90/91, 93/94 in Div. One 5th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Kevin Brophy Capt. : Bevan Cantrell Coaches: Andrew Spraggon (NZ), Michael Cosgrave Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b David Quigley (169) Tries b Pam Simone (5 ) Notes: This one time Division One club will perform in Division Three this season for the fifth consecutive time. Hooker Bevan Cantrell, a major recruiter for the club in the Limerick area, continues as captain. Andrew Spraggon arrives in from Auckland University to take over the role as head coach. Wanderers, fortunate to have their Merrion Road ground available while Lansdowne Road is being re-developed, have enlisted prop Gareth Fitzgerald from Balckrock and Niall McManus from Monkstown. Limerickbs Barry Heaton, Trevor Bowles and Stephen Bradshaw have all departed from their pack positions. During the season Wanderers will entertain Ulster clubs on five occasions and undertake two long journeys to the west of Ireland. Div. Three League Finishing Position Season (s) Seasons Fixtures 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 of note in Div. Three in 2006/07 WATERPARK -- 14th 15th 16th Div. Three Final 02/03 7th 8 homes / 7 aways Pres: Gerry ObNeill Capt. : Pat Murphy Coaches: Maurice Logue, Peter Cooney Top Scorers in 2005 / 06 : Points b Scott Leighton (106) Tries b Michael McCahill (2) Notes: Waterpark are back in Division Three after three seasons in Division Two. The club lost their last twelve AIBL matches last season and in truth, never recovered from being deducted points for fielding an ineligible player. Previously the club president in 1999 / 2 K, Gerry ObNeill has returned to serve a second term. Scott Leighton and David Cruickshank have both departed while Glen Stumbles ( Aus ) is the nominated foreign player this season. Prop Pat Murphy will again be the committee's choice as captain - he is a son of the Director of Rugby Bob Murphy. Three of Waterpark's first four fixtures are away in Ulster - that will surely put an early hole in this season's budget.
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!