18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Both clubs have players involved with the Women's World Cup squad in England this week, including Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan for the Limerick side, while Helen Brosnan is one of two Highfield players in the squad.
UL Bohemians, with Patrique Kelly as captain, went undefeated in the league and play-offs last season and indeed completed a League and Cup double with wins over Blackrock in both finals. They will truly be a tough team to beat this season.
'Rock, who have Ireland scrum half Tania Rosser in their ranks, are on the road to Clonmel for their opening game. The Tipp side will be hoping to have the free-scoring Niamh Briggs on hand to lead the charge.
Newly-promoted Old Belvedere, whose Nora Stapleton was rewarded for her performances this season with an Ireland cap and a place in the Rugby World Cup squad, face a tough trip to Garryowen for their first game in the top flight.
The action in Divison 2 North and Division 2 South gets underway on September 26. In Division 2 North, City of Derry will be hoping to build on their strong league performance last season when they won seven out of their eight games.
They open their campaign with a trip to Navan, a team hoping to bounce back from relegation. Navan will be cheeing on Mary Louise Reilly this Friday as she and the rest of the Ireland squad take on England.
Tralee and Youghal are two teams to watch out for in Division 2 South. The Kerry women face a trip to Tuam, while the Cork side are at home to Galbally on the opening weekend.
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