Saturday promises to be an historic and memorable day in the history of Irish club rugby as teams from the AIB League’s Divisions One, Two and Three go head-to-head for the first time in the AIB Cup. See below for fixture details for the competition’s second round.
In the first round of the 2007/08 AIB Cup, 14 games took place where Division Two clubs faces Division Three opposition. The Division Two sides won eleven of these matches, while only three Division Three outfits – Corinthians, Bruff and Instonians – were victorious.
Belfast Harlequins won the only all-Division Two clash while Midleton beat County Carlow after extra-time in the only encounter between two Division Three sides. The first round results threw up nine home wins and seven away wins.
Interestingly, all three Leinster clubs that were pitched against Ulster opposition won their matches, while all four Leinster side that were pitched against Munster opposition also won their matches.
The line-up for the second round includes all 16 clubs from Division One, 12 teams from Division Two and four from Division Three. Four games will feature clubs that have never previously met in AIB-sponsored competition – Bruff v Old Crescent, St. Mary’s College v Corinthians, Suttonians v Cork Constitution and Galwegians v Ballynahinch.
Only four Division Two/Division Three clubs will be guaranteed a place in the third round draw – Bruff or Old Crescent, Malone or Midleton, Dublin University or Clonakilty and De La Salle Palmerston or Bective Rangers.
The second round draw has been kind to the Division One sides as nine of the 16 ties give home advantage to clubs from the top flight. Three Division One sides will be making their debuts in the AIB Cup – Old Belvedere, Blackrock college and UL Bohemians.
Blackrock are involved in one of two potential Division One v Division Three ‘giant-killing’ ties – ‘Rock v Instonians and St. Mary’s College v Corinthians. There are four all-Division One games down for decision – Lansdowne v Garryowen, Terenure College v Clontarf, Dungannon v UL Bohemians and UCD v Greystones.
Notably, there are 13 Leinster clubs involved in the second round and not one of them will be required to travel outside of the province to fulfil their fixture – compare that to Limerick city where all four clubs still involved have to travel. That is the luck of the draw!
Speaking of draws, the AIB Cup’s third round draw will take place before Christmas with the ties set for Saturday, January 5, 2008. The quarter-finals are due up on Saturday, February 2, 2008, the semi-finals on Saturday, March 8 and the AIB Cup final will take place on Saturday, April 12.
2007/08 AIB CUP: SECOND ROUND: Saturday, October 13 (kick-off 2.30pm, unless stated)
Bruff v Old Crescent, Kilballyowen Park
UCC v Dolphin, The Mardyke
Belfast Harlequins v Shannon, Deramore Park
St. Mary’s College v Corinthians, Templeville Road
Malone v Midleton, Gibson Park
Suttonians v Cork Constitution, JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds
Terenure College v Clontarf, Lakelands Park
De La Salle Palmerston v Bective Rangers, Kilternan
Ballymena v Buccaneers, Eaton Park
Old Belvedere v Wanderers, Anglesea Road
Lansdowne v Garryowen, RDS
Blackrock College v Instonians, Stradbrook
Dungannon v UL Bohemians, Stevenson Park
Galwegians v Ballynahinch, Crowley Park
Dublin University v Clonakilty, College Park
UCD v Greystones, Belfield
– If there are any changes to the kick-off times, this will be advised before Friday, October 12.
– If teams are tied at full-time, extra time of 10 minutes each way will be played. If still tied, the side which has scored most tries is the winner. If still tied, the away team will be declared the winner.