Champions UCD off to a flying start
The club rugby season has crept up on us again with the Leinster Senior League Cup and Shield getting under way last weekend as the excesses of the summer were blown away.
Because of the earlier-than-normal start to the Ulster Bank League, tweaks had to be made to the running of both the competitions, which in recent seasons had been run over five weekends; the Cup now comprises three sections with four teams in each and taking place over three weekends while there are two four-team sections in the Shield.
UCD are defending the Senior League Cup they won last November, a victory that qualified the students for the All-Ireland Cup, where they eventually finished runners-up to Cork Constitution.
Last Saturday they hosted NUIM Barnhall at Belfield in Section 'C' and beat their Leixlip visitors 27-20 in a tough encounter while last night they travelled to Lakelands for a repeat of last year's Senior Cup Final against Terenure College.
The Dublin 6W side got their campaign off to an impressive start when they won 45-14 away to Seapoint at Ballybogget Park setting up the winner-take-all scenario against the Students.
St Mary's College lifted the Senior League Cup the previous season and the Templeogue club signalled its intent with an impressive 45-20 victory at Stradbrook against Blackrock College in Section 'B' and will be expected to make it two out of two tomorrow when Bective Rangers are the visitors to Templeville Road.
The Donnybrook club were forced to play their season opener against Old Belvedere in the unfamiliar surroundings of their Junior pitch in Glenamuck Road as a new all-weather synthetic surface is being laid at their Leinster Rugby HQ base.
There are two new pitches currently in the final stages of construction in Donnybrook which should mean quality surfaces year round rather than the springtime dust bowls that have been far too common in recent years.
Whether it was the unusual environs for the hosts but they went down 27-13 against their visitors from Anglesea Road and Belvo will be vying for a second victory when host Rock tonight at 7.30pm.
In Section 'A', Lansdowne hosted Old Wesley on the back pitch in Lansdowne Road and opened their campaign with a 24-10 win and they will now make the short journey to College Park to play Dublin University on their newly laid surface tomorrow.
Trinity were in action away in Castle Avenue against Clontarf on Monday and went down 19-14; the northsiders are away to Old Wesley tomorrow but because of the work in Donnybrook that game will be played in Ballycorus.
In a Senior League Shield Section 'A' game that was brought forward three weeks Wanderers celebrated their return to Senior ranks after a two-year hiatus with a 29-14 victory against Naas away at Forenaughts and they travel to Kirwan Park tomorrow to play De La Salle Palmerston.
Naas will try to pick up the pieces when they make the journey to the seaside to play Greystones at Dr Hickey Park while action in Section 'B' gets under way tomorrow afternoon with Boyne hosting Skerries at Shamrock Lodge and Navan entertaining Tullamore in Balreask Old.