Conroy the key man for Buccs
Jordan Conroy was player of the year and scored 19 tries as Buccaneers secured the Ulster Bank League Division 1B title last season, and the Athlone outfit will need another big showing from their wingers if they are to battle it out at top of 1A this term.
Buccaneers won 15 of their 18 games but will find it much tougher to compete with the likes of 2016 champions Cork Con, and Darin Claasen and Mike McCarthy have been tasked with keeping their resurgence going.
Former head coach and Connacht prop Brett Wilkinson has since departed for Hong Kong but Buccaneers have maintained many of the team that brought them to glory in 2016-'17.
They were the highest-achieving Connacht club in the league and their fortunes were a massive contrast to that of Galwegians. Galwegians begin their 2017-'18 campaign back in Division 2A for the first time in four years.
Galwegians dominated on their last visit to the third tier when they won 14 of their 15 games, registering a massive 64 points with eight bonus points in hand.
Galwegians were promoted to Division 1A at the first time of asking after a second successive season where they won 14 of their 18 games to finish two points clear of Garryowen.
But when they got to Division 1A Galwegians succumbed to 13 defeats and Buccaneers will be hoping to learn from that example - they begin their campaign against Lansdowne.
Galwegians kick off their 2A season against Cashel, while Corinthians face off against Queen's University, also in the third tier.
Sligo remain in Division 2C and they begin their season with a game against new boys Thomond.