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‘Pure Rugby’ Returns This Weekend,

‘Pure Rugby’ Returns This Weekend,

‘Pure Rugby’ returns this weekend, with the start of the 14th season of the AIB League, Ireland’s premier inter-club rugby competition, which kicks off on Saturday (25th).

‘Pure Rugby’ returns this weekend, with the start of the 14th season of the AIB League, Ireland’s premier inter-club rugby competition. The “Holy Grail” of the domestic club game kicks off on Saturday 25th October, with a full series of fixtures in all three divisions.

From now until next May
2004, 48 clubs from over Ireland will contest more than 360 AIB League games, culminating in the AIB League Finals day at Lansdowne Road next May.

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Speaking at the launch of the AIB League Season 2003/04, John Hickey,
General Manager AIB Bank
stated that, “This is the seventh season of our involvement with club rugby. Our sponsorship focus has always been at a community level and the AIB League is an important element of our
involvement with Irish sport.

“The spread of the game to so many rural areas in recent years has made the League ever more exciting and has given it a real sense of community.”

Division One champions, Ballymena open their season at home against UCD, as
do last year’s defeated finalists, Clontarf who entertain Galwegians in Castle Avenue. Even though they ultimately failed at the last hurdle last year, Clontarf were undoubtedly one of the great success stories of
2002-03 season, and Castle Avenue will undoubtedly continue to attract the huge crowds it did all of last season.

Meanwhile, newly promoted Dolphin will be
eager to make their mark from the outset when they travel to Co.Carlow for their opening fixture.

In Division Two newly promoted Waterpark have a home fixture against Thomond, whilst other interesting fixtures on the first Saturday include DLSP against Old Belvedere and Sunday’s Well against UCC.
In Kildare, Barnhall will play host to Bective Rangers.

Division Three will kick off with Ards in action against Corinthians. After
seeing off the challenges of Bruff, Kilkenny and Monivea to win the round robin and claim promotion to Division Three, Ards presence in the AIB League is an exciting time for the club.

AIB League – Division One.

Ballymena v U.C.D.
Buccaneers v Belfast Harlequins.
Clontarf v Galwegians.
Cork Constitution v Dungannon.
Co. Carlow v Dolphin.
Shannon v Lansdowne.
St. Mary’s College v Garryowen.

AIB League Division Two.

Barnhall v Bective Rangers.
Dublin University v U.L. Bohemians.
D.L.S.P. v Old Belvedere.
Midleton v Ballynahinch.
Old Crescent v Malone.
Sunday’s Well v U.C.C.
Terenure College v Young Munster.
Waterpark v Thomond.

AIB League Division Three.

Ballina v Connemara.
Banbridge v Greystones.
City of Derry v Skerries.
Clonakilty v Old Wesley.
Corinthians v Ards.
Instonians v Suttonians.
Naas v Highfield.
Portadown v Queens University