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AIB League Division One: Club-By-Club Guide

AIB League Division One: Club-By-Club Guide

IrishRugby.ie takes a closer look at the competing clubs in Division One of this season’s AIB League, with the help of Irish rugby statistician Des Daly.

DIVISION ONE STATISTICAL PREVIEW:

– The provincial breakdown of clubs in Division One is: Leinster 8, Munster 5, Ulster 2 and Connacht 1

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– No club has an alternating home and away schedule. Six clubs have three home games in succession while five clubs will play three away fixtures on the trot at some stage during the season

– No Sunday dates have been officially scheduled but Heineken Cup activity will probably impinge on this decision

– Cork Constitution, Garryowen and Shannon remain the only three clubs omnipresent in Division One since the 1990/91 campaign. Old Belvedere and Greystones join the fourteen 2006/07 top flight clubs in Division One this season

– There is no Belfast club in Division One this season. There are two Cork City clubs in Division One – Old Belvedere and Dungannon have to visit Cork twice this season

– Galwegians and Shannon have five trips to Leinster on the cards this season, while Garryowen and St. Mary’s College entertain five Leinster clubs this season

– Clontarf have four homes to Munster clubs and do not have to visit Cork this season. Dolphin have four home games in their first five fixtures, while Blackrock College have four away dates in their first five games. Clontarf are fortunate enough to be playing 13 of their 15 games in the Dublin area

– The last league date in Division One is set for Saturday, April 19, four Saturdays after the Easter weekend

2007/08 AIB LEAGUE DIVISION ONE TEAMS:

BALLYMENA:

All-Time Ranking: Joint 5th
2006/07 Finish: 13th in Division One

Club President: Ian McIlrath (eighth season), former Ireland centre (five caps)
Coach: Jacques Benade (South African) – assistants are Davy Smyth, Peter Millar and Andy Graham
Captain: Bob Young – the lock’s second season as captain

Comment: This is Sam McGreer’s 16th season as first team manager

2007/08 Transfers In

BLACKROCK COLLEGE:

All-Time Ranking: 7th
2006/07 Finish: 7th in Division One

Club President: Declan Gardiner, club captain in the 1989/90 season
Coaches: Barry Gibney and Emmet Farrell (second season), two former pupils and both ex-Leinster players
Captain: Des Dillon – the ex-UCD lock and back rower who has 57 Leinster caps and one Ireland ‘A’ cap

Comment: Club is in its 125th season

2007/08 Transfers In

CLONTARF:

All-Time Ranking: 10th
2006/07 Finish: 2nd in Division One (beaten semi-finalists)

Club President: Greg Howard, club captain in 1977/78
Coach: Andy Wood (New Zealander) (first season) – assistants are Simon O’Donnell and Alan Reddan
Captain: Simon Crawford – the lock and back rower boasts 9 Leinster caps and is an AIB Club international

Comment: Lost in the Division One semi-finals last season

2007/08 Transfers In

CORK CONSTITUTION:

All-Time Ranking: 1st
2006/07 Finish: 1st in Division One (beaten finalists)

Club President: Jack O’Sullivan, former club PRO
Coach: Brian Walsh (third season) – his assistant is former Ireland hooker Terry Kingston
Captain: Merle O’Connell – the lock/back rower is a former Crosshaven player and an AIB Club international

Comment: Lost the Division One play-off final to Garryowen last season

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DOLPHIN:

All-Time Ranking: 17th
2006/07 Finish: 14th in Division One

Club President: Dr. Frank Matthews, the club’s medical officer
Coach: Former international David O’Mahony (fourth season) – his assistant is Welshman Steve Ford
Captain: George Finn – the back rower formerly played for UCC

Comment: This is their first time to spen two consecutive seasons playing in Division One

2007/08 Transfers In

DUNGANNON:

All-Time Ranking: 8th
2006/07 Finish: 6th in Division One

Club President: Davy Millar, who won two Ulster caps at tighthead prop and was club captain for 1976/77
Coach: John Andrew, former Rainey Old Boys player-coach – his assistant is former Ireland centre Jonny Bell
Captain: Glen Telford – the ex-RBAI centre has one Ireland Schools cap and 13 Ireland Under-21 caps and is an AIB Club international

Comment: They were the top Ulster club in Division One last season

2007/08 Transfers In

GALWEGIANS:

All-Time Ranking: 14th
2006/07 Finish: 11th in Division One

Club President: Mick Casserly, a former club and provincial captain who won 33 Connacht caps between 1968 and 1980 as well as two Ireland ‘A’ caps
Coach: Paul Young (Welsh) (second season) – assistants are Mervyn Murphy and John Folan
Captain: Louis Tonkin – the lock is a newcomer from England

Comment: The membership have voted to sell the club grounds

2007/08 Transfers In

GARRYOWEN:

All-Time Ranking: 2nd
2006/07 Finish: 3rd in Division One (play-off champions)

Club President: John Garrett, a big fundraiser
Technical Director: Greig Oliver (former Scottish international) (first season) – their coach is former club captain Dara O’Sullivan
Captain: Paul Neville (44 Connacht caps) – the back rower’s second season as captain

Comment: Won the Division One play-off final last season, beating Cork Constitution

2007/08 Transfers In

GREYSTONES:

All-Time Ranking: 21st
2006/07 Finish: 2nd in Division Two (play-off champions)

Club President: Pierce Power, former Leinster player (one cap) who was club captain for 1978/79
Coach: Colin McEntee (second season) – amongst his assistants is South African Henrik Kruger
Captain: Neil Megannety – the lock’s second season as captain

Comment: Won the Division Two play-off final last season, beating Old Belvedere after extra-time

2007/08 Transfers In

LANSDOWNE:

All-Time Ranking: Joint 5th
2006/07 Finish: 9th in Division One

Club President: Paddy Halpenny, a former Honorary Treasurer with the club
Coach: Stephen Rooney (first season)
Captain: Alan Maher – the lock is an AIB Club international and boasts 5 Connacht caps

Comment: Will have the RDS Arena as their home venue this season due to Lansdowne Road’s redevelopment

2007/08 Transfers In

OLD BELVEDERE:

All-Time Ranking: 16th
2006/07 Finish: 1st in Division Two (beaten finalists)

Club President: Damien Torsney, the holder of 16 Leinster Branch medals and the first County Leitrim president
Coach: Warren O’Kelly (first season) – his assistant is Ray Monaghan
Captain: Dave Shanley – the wing forward formerly played for St. Michael’s College

Comment: Lost the Division Two play-off final last season, going down to Greystones after extra-time

2007/08 Transfers In

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE:

All-Time Ranking: 4th
2006/07 Finish: 10th in Division One

Club President: Frank Kennedy, the holder of 17 Leinster Branch medals – he won two Leinster caps as a centre
Coach: Steven Hennessy (sixth season) – his assistant is former Ireland ‘A’ international Peter Smyth (4 caps)
Captain: Gareth Logan – the lock played previously for Guinness RFC and was an Irish Youths international

Comment: They are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their first Leinster Senior Cup win

2007/08 Transfers In

SHANNON:

All-Time Ranking: 3rd
2006/07 Finish: 5th in Division One

Club President: Tommy Rowan, the club’s former Under-20s chairman
Coach: Former Ireland lock and current AIB Club international manager Mick Galwey (fourth season) – his assistant is Ian Sherwin
Captain: David Quinlan – the back rower’s third season as captain – he is an AIB Club international

Comment: They have won eight of the 17 first division titles to date

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TERENURE COLLEGE:

All-Time Ranking: 12th
2006/07 Finish: 8th in Division One

Club President: David McGowan, who was previously the club’s Honorary Secretary
Coach: Kevin West (New Zealander) (third season) – his assistant is James Blaney, who won three Ireland ‘A’ caps
Captain: Stephen Nolan – the prop is an AIB Club international and former Ireland rugby league player

Comment: This is the club’s season season back in Division One

2007/08 Transfers In

UCD:

All-Time Ranking: 18th
2006/07 Finish: 12th in Division One

Club President: Dave Bergin, who was De La Salle Palmerston captain for 1979/80
Coaches: Bobby Byrne (fourth season) and Gary Coakley
Captain: Michael Hastings – the centre is a former pupil of Wesley College

Comment: The student club is celebrating seven seasons in Division One

2007/08 Transfers In

UL BOHEMIANS:

All-Time Ranking: 24th
2006/07 Finish: 4th in Division One (beaten semi-finalists)

Club President: Dr. Roger Downer (UL); David Fitzgerald (Bohemians), a former Honorary Secretary for the club
Coach: Ian Costello, the club’s top AIB League points scorer (first season) – assistant is Christy Neiland
Captain: Martin McPhail – the winger gained 6 Connacht caps and 10 Munster caps during his provincial career

Comment: They lost in the Division One semi-finals last season, going down to Cork Constitution

2007/08 Transfers In

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