AIB League Division One champions Cork Constitution will begin their title defence this Saturday by entertaining Terenure College at Temple Hill. Brian Walsh’s men recently beat Shannon 21-7 to advance to the quarter-finals of the ODM Munster Senior Cup.
Young Munster’s first outing back in the top flight is a tough trip to a Ballymena side that is currently second in the First Trust Ulster Senior League.
Familiar rivals Blackrock College and Shannon will meet at Stradbrook on Saturday in a repeat of last season’s AIB Cup final – they are also due to meet in the cup’s second round on November 1.
Strangely enough, there is only one provincial clash on Division One’s opening weekend. That sees UCD head down the road to face Old Belvedere in an enticing Dublin 4 derby.
The remainder of the top flight’s fixtures are interprovincial ties. Most notably, Buccaneers will mark their return to Division One at home to Dolphin, while two play-off regulars, Clontarf and Garryowen, will go head-to-head at Castle Avenue.
In Division Two, last season’s play-off champions UCC will begin their promotion push away to former top flight heavyweights Lansdowne.
Another game to look out for is the repeat of last season’s Division Three final between Instonians and Bruff at Shaw’s Bridge.
Greystones, who were relegated from Division One last term, will have to be on their toes to beat Malone at Gibson Park, where the Belfast side destroyed Queen’s University 69-7 in the first round of the AIB Cup last weekend.
Meanwhile, AIB League rugby will return to Chambers Park when Portadown, last season’s Round Robin Series winners, take on Old Wesley in Division Three.
County Carlow and Nenagh Ormond, who both had impressive wins in the AIB Cup, will start their campaigns against Waterpark and Corinthians respectively.
And there is sure to be some added bite to the Banbridge v Rainey Old Boys encounter at Rifle Park, where Rainey beat Bann 23-0 in the Ulster Senior League earlier this month.
2008/09 AIB LEAGUE: Saturday, October 4
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Ballymena v Young Munster, Eaton Park
Blackrock College v Shannon, Stradbrook
Buccaneers v Dolphin, Dubarry Park
Clontarf v Garryowen, Castle Avenue
Cork Constitution v Terenure College, Temple Hill
Dungannon v St. Mary’s College, Stevenson Park
Old Belvedere v UCD, Anglesea Road
UL Bohemians v Galwegians, Anacotty
Ballynahinch v De La Salle Palmerston, Ballymacarn Park
Belfast Harlequins v Bective Rangers, Deramore Park
Dublin University v Clonakilty, College Park, 1pm
Highfield v Thomond, Woodleigh Park
Instonians v Bruff, Shaw’s Bridge
Lansdowne v UCC, The RDS
Malone v Greystones, Gibson Park
Old Crescent v Wanderers, Rosbrien
Banbridge v Rainey Old Boys, Rifle Park
Barnhall v Suttonians, Parstonstown
County Carlow v Waterpark, Oak Park
Connemara v Sundays Well, Monastery Field
Corinthians v Nenagh Ormond, Corinthian Park
Midleton v Ards, Towns Park
Naas v Queen’s University, Forenaughts
Portadown v Old Wesley, Chambers Park
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