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Boyne lead charge for the All-Ireland

It must be the rugby season if the Rose of Tralee is over, the harvest is saved and Dublin and Kildare are both out of the All-Ireland!

After the summer break, it's time again to talk about all things wonderful and oval. The forthcoming Leinster League will shower guaranteed additional plaudits on the winner in the shape of automatic promotion to the All-Ireland League in 2011-12.

With the expansion of the AIL to 52 clubs, the four provincial champions in the qualifying leagues this season will not have to endure the torment of the round robin, and will move straight into a brand new 16-team Division 2B.

A number of clubs in Leinster will see this as a golden opportunity with Boyne, who have been knocking on the AIL door for the past few years, most likely to be favourites.

This is based on a Newstalk Provincial Towns Cup double over the past two years coupled with the runners-up spot in last season's Leinster League Division 1A, a campaign in which they were the only club to deny runaway champions Seapoint a 100pc record thanks to a 21-21 draw in Killiney.

On Saturday the Co Louth side commenced their season with a creditable 34-21 defeat at home against Naas in Pool 5 of the Leinster Senior League Cup and they will look to continue their build up towards the Leinster League (which gets under way in a fortnight) when they travel to Navan in what should be a juicy local derby.


Tullamore is the other Leinster League club playing in the Leinster Senior League Cup and they went under 32-19 in Seapoint but again put up a sterling performance; they can look forward to hosting Suttonians tomorrow.

The midland side has been one of the enigmas of Division 1A for the past few seasons; consistently performing well in the Towns Cup (winners in 2006 and losing finalists for the past two years) but failing to find the same form in the league.

The Area competitions, which act as vital preparation for the Leinster League, also got under way across the province last weekend.

The most eye-catching result was West Offaly Lions' 23-11 win at home over Roscrea in the Midland J1 League. The young club made its debut in Leinster following a long, drawn out transfer process to the eastern province.

The Lions won Division 1B in Connacht last season and on this showing they can look forward to being competitive in Division 1B in Leinster this term, a division that was arguably the most competitive in the province a year ago.

Wicklow, New Ross, Wexford Wanderers and Enniscorthy kicked off their campaigns in the South East J1 League with wins while Cill Dara, Clondalkin, Portarlington and Clane did likewise in the Hosie Cup.

Mullingar and Edenderry were the other opening day winners in the Midland J1 League while Coolmine were the first Metro Junior club to register a victory in the Spencer Cup.

The season is under way and will only grow in intensity from now on.