Wednesday 25 April 2018

Trinity to kick off 1A season

Those of a squeamish disposition should not scroll down
Those of a squeamish disposition should not scroll down

The Senior League drew to a close last weekend with Lansdowne and Old Belvedere qualifying to meet in the Division 1 final while Greystones, Naas and Blackrock College advanced to the Division 2 play-offs.

The value of the revamped Senior League as preparation for the Ulster Bank League will become apparent this weekend as the premier club rugby competition in the country gets under way.

Dublin University make their bow in Division 1A this season and the students begin with a trip to Lakelands tonight to take on Terenure College.

Leinster appear to have the nap hand as it provides seven of the 10 Division 1A teams and the battle to separate Clontarf from their crown promises to be exciting.

The province's most competitive league also commences tomorrow when the eight teams in the Leinster League Division 1A begin their quest for the title that will deliver them a shot at the AIL next April.

Enniscorthy will defend their crown after Sligo scored a last-minute try under the shadows of Ben Bulben to retain their national status and thwart the lofty ambitions of the Slaneysiders.

The holders begin their campaign at home in Ross Road against Dundalk, their predecessors as Division 1A champions but who have come tumbling back down after only a year in Division 2C of the Ulster Bank League. The Louth club never recovered from the loss of the majority of their championship-winning team before a ball was kicked in anger last September and will be keen to use this campaign as a means of steadying the ship.

Gorey tomorrow welcome De La Salle Palmerston to Clonattin with the Kilternan outfit having recruited prudently as they set about regaining their AIL status after settling to the task last year in their initial sortie in Division 1A and finishing in a solid fourth place.

Ashbourne begin their third season in the top tier by making the short journey to Malahide tomorrow in what promises to be another intriguing battle, especially as the home side have recruited well with an ambition to gain early promotion to the Ulster Bank League.

Finally, at Foulkstown, Kilkenny host Monkstown with both clubs anxious to avoid last season's flirtation with the relegation zone while the remaining four divisions of the Leinster League don't commence until next weekend.

This looks to be the most open and promises to be the most competitive Division 1A in many years and predicting a winner is fraught with danger.

Pre-season form has been most unreliable with Enniscorthy losing the delayed 2015-2016 South East J1 League Final 23-20 to Wicklow on Saturday while De La Salle Palmerston were hammered a couple of weeks ago by Malahide in a Spencer Cup tie.

Despite that hammering De La Salle Palmerston may provide a significant challenge for the title as their squad has been strengthened since last season.

Irish Independent

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