AIL RUGBY: Banbridge face tough opener in Division One

Rob Lyttle of Ulster
Rob Lyttle of Ulster

Banbridge face a baptism of fire in their first ever game in Division 1 of the All Ireland League.

Dan Soper’s side were promoted from Division 2A on the final day of last season and kick off their 1B campaign at UL Bohemians on 16th September, the Limerick students were beaten by Garryowen in the promotion play-off last season after finishing third.

Bann have recruited well during the summer with Ulster duo Rob Lyttle and Nick Timoney joining from Queen’s while RBAI Schools Cup winners Michael Lowry and James Hume will be reunited with Soper at club level.

Bann kick off their home campaign against UCC the following Saturday.

Ballymena start on the road at Old Wesley while Ballynahinch with Brian McLaughlin at the helm are also in Dublin on the opening day as they face Old Belvedere.

In Division 2A Queen’s have former Ulster head coach Neil Doak and former AIL winning coach Derek Suffern in charge as the students look to improve on last year’s fifth place finish.

They travel to Galway Corinthians on the opening day before facing Nenagh at home.

Malone lost in the playoff semi final last year and start in Tipperary against Nenagh before welcoming Highfield to Gibson Park.

Armagh have former Ulster flanker Willie Faloon is in charge at the Palace grounds.They open at home against Greystones who pipped them to the Division 2B title last season.

After consecutive relegations in the past two seasons Belfast Harlequins have appointed Nick Wells as head coach. Quins begin life in Division 2B at Deramore against Navan.

Rainey kick off against Old Crescent at Hatrick Park. Dungannon host Skerries while City of Derry are on the road at Wanderers.

In Division 2C Omagh face the long trip to Bruff on the opening day while Bangor entertain Tullamore at Upritchard Park.