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Former Champions Shannon First Up For ‘Belvo

Former Champions Shannon First Up For ‘Belvo

Old Belvedere, last year’s Division Two table-toppers, have been handed a tough start to the new AIB League season with eight-time Division One champions Shannon to visit Anglesea Road on the opening day.

The AIB League fixtures for the 2007/08 season were confirmed today by the IRFU with Division One getting underway on Saturday, October 27.

‘Belvo will entertain Shannon on the opening day and also face a trip to Cork Constitution, last year’s beaten finalists, two weeks later.

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Greystones, who beat ‘Belvo in last season’s Division Two final, will open with a Cork double as they play Dolphin (October 27) and Cork Constitution (November 3).

The Dublin derby between Lansdowne and Clontarf is arguably the tie of the opening weekend while the top flight’s defending champions Garryowen will begin their campaign away to Ballymena.

As champions, Garryowen will be representing Ireland at Languedoc-Roussillon tournament in France next month and that could give them the competitive edge over their league opponents in the opening rounds.

Certainly the Dooradoyle residents will have to be on their toes on November 3 when their Limerick rivals Shannon come hunting for revenge after the loss of their title last term.

Meanwhile, John Andrews’ first league game in charge of Dungannon will see his side tussling will Terenure College at Stevenson Park.

The division’s two university clubs – UL Bohemians and UCD – will also meet on the opening day, with Galwegians and St. Mary’s College, who finished 11th and 10th respectively last season, pencilled in to clash at Crowley Park.

The closing stages of Division One’s regulation phase will throw up some cracking ties.

The final day of action, April 19, will see Ballymena meeting their Ulster rivals Dungannon, capital duels between Blackrock College and St. Mary’s College and Terenure College and Lansdowne, the all-Cork clash of Cork Constitution and Dolphin and the promoted Greystones challenging former champions Shannon.

The semi-finals will follow on May 3 with the final to take place a week later on May 10.

In a letter to the AIB League club’s Honorary Secretaries, Gordon Black, the IRFU’s Rugby Administration Manager, pointed to the following influencing factors when the fixture lists were drawn up:

– Leinster/Lansdowne ground share in the RDS – only 1 match allowed per week

– All Munster Magners League matches will be played at Musgrave Park this season. Dolphin and Sunday’s Well could not have a match against Ulster clubs on a weekend Munster were at home, TV could dictate a Saturday match

– March 29, 2008 – All Cork city clubs away as the Six Nations Schools tournament is being held in Cork

– All fixtures are a reversal of last year’s fixtures

– Limerick sides not to be at home to Ulster clubs weeks 4, 7 and 9 due to potential clashes with Munster & Heineken games

– Bective and Old Wesley sharing Donnybrook – no Sunday matches in February (two rounds), schools have primacy of venue

– The Rugby World Cup means a later start to AIB League season by two weeks, thereby compressing dates

– Extension of AIB Cup to 48 clubs

2007/08 AIB LEAGUE DIVISION ONE FIXTURES:

Saturday, October 27 –

Ballymena v Garryowen
Cork Constitution v Blackrock College
Dolphin v Greystones
Dungannon v Terenure College
Galwegians v St. Mary’s College
Lansdowne v Clontarf
Old Belvedere v Shannon
UL Bohemians v UCD

Saturday, November 3 –

Dolphin v Old Belvedere
Galwegians v Ballymena
Garryowen v Shannon
Greystones v Cork Constitution
St. Mary’s College v Clontarf
Terenure College v Blackrock College
UCD v Dungannon
UL Bohemians v Lansdowne

Saturday, November 10 –

Blackrock College v Dungannon
Clontarf v Ballymena
Cork Constitution v Old Belvedere
Garryowen v Dolphin
Greystones v Lansdowne
Shannon v UL Bohemians
Terenure College v Galwegians
UCD v St. Mary’s College

Saturday, November 17 –

Ballymena v UCD
Clontarf v Shannon
Cork Constitution v Garryowen
Dolphin v Galwegians
Dungannon v Greystones
Lansdowne v Blackrock College
Old Belvedere v Terenure College
UL Bohemians v St. Mary’s College

Saturday, December 1 –

Dolphin v Lansdowne
Galwegians v UL Bohemians
Garryowen v Clontarf
Greystones v Ballymena
Shannon v Blackrock College
St. Mary’s College v Dungannon
Terenure College v Cork Constitution
UCD v Old Belvedere

Saturday, December 8 –

Ballymena v Lansdowne
Blackrock College v Old Belvedere
Clontarf v Dolphin
Cork Constitution v UL Bohemians
Garryowen v Dungannon
Greystones v Galwegians
St. Mary’s College v Shannon
UCD v Terenure College

Saturday, December 15 –

Ballymena v St. Mary’s College
Blackrock College v Garryowen
Clontarf v Terenure College
Cork Constitution v UCD
Dungannon v Galwegians
Lansdowne v Shannon
Old Belvedere v Greystones
UL Bohemians v Dolphin

Saturday, January 12 –

Blackrock College v Dolphin
Dungannon v UL Bohemians
Galwegians v Lansdowne
Garryowen v St. Mary’s College
Old Belvedere v Ballymena
Shannon v Cork Constitution
Terenure College v Greystones
UCD v Clontarf

Saturday, January 19 –

Ballymena v Blackrock College
Dolphin v Terenure College
Dungannon v Shannon
Lansdowne v Cork Constitution
Old Belvedere v Clontarf
St. Mary’s College v Greystones
UCD v Galwegians
UL Bohemians v Garryowen

Saturday, January 26 –

Clontarf v UL Bohemians
Cork Constitution v Dungannon
Dolphin v Ballymena
Garryowen v Terenure College
Greystones v Blackrock College
Lansdowne v UCD
Shannon v Galwegians
St. Mary’s College v Old Belvedere

Saturday, February 16 –

Clontarf v Cork Constitution
Dungannon v Old Belvedere
Galwegians v Blackrock College
Greystones v Garryowen
Shannon v Ballymena
St. Mary’s College v Lansdowne
Terenure College v UL Bohemians
UCD v Dolphin

Saturday, March 1 –

Blackrock College v UCD
Clontarf v Greystones
Cork Constitution v St. Mary’s College
Dolphin v Dungannon
Lansdowne v Garryowen
Old Belvedere v Galwegians
Shannon v Terenure College
UL Bohemians v Ballymena

Saturday, March 22 –

Ballymena v Cork Constitution
Dolphin v Shannon
Dungannon v Clontarf
Galwegians v Garryowen
Greystones v UCD
Old Belvedere v Lansdowne
St. Mary’s College v Terenure College
UL Bohemians v Blackrock College

Saturday, March 29 –

Blackrock College v Clontarf
Galwegians v Cork Constitution
Garryowen v Old Belvedere
Greystones v UL Bohemians
Lansdowne v Dungannon
St. Mary’s College v Dolphin
Terenure College v Ballymena
UCD v Shannon

Saturday, April 19 –

Ballymena v Dungannon
Blackrock College v St. Mary’s College
Clontarf v Galwegians
Cork Constitution v Dolphin
Garryowen v UCD
Old Belvedere v UL Bohemians
Shannon v Greystones
Terenure College v Lansdowne

Saturday, May 3 –

Semi-Finals

Saturday, May 10 –

Final