Belfast Harlequins are hungry for silverware this season and begin their quest for AIB League Division 2 glory this weekend with a home tie against Limerick outfit Old Crescent (kick-off 2.30pm).
Belfast Harlequins used home advantage to good effect last weekend with a comfortable 32-10 AIB Cup first round win over Naas, a signal of greater things to come perhaps for the Deramore Park outfit.
Backs coach Adam Larkin says ‘Quins relish taking part in All-Ireland competitions.
“In the early part of the season the AIB Cup is an important part of the build-up to the AIB League and last weekend’s win over Naas was certainly a part of that,” he said.
‘Quins have strengthened their squad in recent weeks with the addition of Samoan prop Alatise Ale and New Zealand-born back John Mills.
Larkin says that they have already become an integral part of the ‘Quins squad.
“Alatise Ale is coming back from injury and we gave him game-time last weekend, similarly John Mills.
“John arrived within the last ten days and played in Auckland before. We are pleased with him as well. He got 40 minutes against Naas, slotting in well at out-half.”
And despite grinding out an impressive 22-point win over Naas last week, the former Ulster player revealed that he was not happy with the performance of his side in that game.
“At the end of the day we weren’t particularly pleased with how we played, but we certainly needed to get that out of our system and build upon it for this weekend against Old Crescent.”
‘Quins bounced back from defeat in the Ulster League against Ballynahinch to record victory over Naas, and Larkin says that the coaching staff are overall reasonably pleased with the effort from their squad at present.
“It’s early days yet and there is still a long way to go, but we have been fairly pleased with how we have performed to date.
“Things really start now (with the AIB League) and that’s where we will get a better gauge of where we are at.”