The opening salvos of the national domestic season will be fired this weekend with the first round of the AIB Cup pitting the teams from Divisions 2 and 3 of the AIB League against each other.
The AIB Cup kicks off this weekend and IrishRugby.ie will have all the news in the lead up to the big kick-off and all the results come Saturday afternoon.
Defending champions Ballynahinch, newly promoted to Division 1B, will not start their campaign until the second round but they will certainly be keeping an eye on the pretenders to the crown this weekend.
However, ‘Hinch may have a bit of travelling to do as only two Ulster clubs, Rainey Old Boys and Belfast Harlequins, have a home town draw in the first round.
One of the more interesting ties of the opening round sees newly promoted Navan at home to Instonians.
This will be the first chance for the County Meath club to test themselves against AIB League opposition.
Navan come to the competition with some serious cup pedigree – they won the AIB Junior Cup in 2007/08 and reached the final again last season.
The reward for the winning club is a home draw in round two against Garryowen, the AIB Cup winners in 2007.
Donnybrook in Dublin will be the location for another interesting match up as neighbours Bective and Old Wesley go head to head. Up the road at the RDS, promotion hopefuls Lansdowne will play host to Ards.
2009/10 AIB CUP –
FIRST ROUND FIXTURES (ties to be played on September 26):
Match A: Sunday’s Well v Malone
Match B: Rainey Old Boys v Old Crescent
Match C: Navan v Instonians
Match D: Bective Rangers v Old Wesley
Match E: Midleton v UCD
Match F: Nenagh Ormond v Portadown
Match G: County Carlow v Queen’s University
Match H: Clonakilty v Bruff
Match I: De La Salle Palmerston v Greystones
Match J: Highfield v Thomond
Match K: Terenure College v Connemara
Match L: Lansdowne v Ards
Match M: Barnhall v Suttonians
Match N: Dublin University v Banbridge
Match O: Corinthians v Wanderers
Match P: Belfast Harlequins v Naas
SECOND ROUND DRAW (ties to be played on October 17):
Match 1: St. Mary’s College v Clonakilty/Bruff
Match 2: Young Munster v Terenure College/Connemara
Match 3: UL Bohemians v Belfast Harlequins/Naas
Match 4: Dungannon v County Carlow/Queen’s University
Match 5: Navan/Instonians v Garryowen
Match 6: Bective Rangers/Old Wesley V Ballymena
Match 7: Ballynahinch v Cork Constitution
Match 8: Lansdowne/Ards v Nenagh Ormond/Portadown
Match 9: Highfield/Thomond v Midleton/UCD
Match 10: Sunday’s Well/Malone v Blackrock College
Match 11: Rainey Old Boys/Old Crescent v Clontarf
Match 12: UCC v Corinthians/Wanderers
Match 13: Old Belvedere v De La Salle Palmerston/Greystones
Match 14: Galwegians v Dublin University/Banbridge
Match 15: Shannon v Buccaneers
Match 16: Dolphin v Barnhall/Suttonians
The winners from round two will be entered into further open draws for round three, the quarter-finals and semi-finals.
The final will be played on January 30, 2010. The draw for the AIB Junior Cup will be made at a later date.