AIL Back in Full Swing this weekend

AIL Back in Full Swing this weekend.

Division 1 returns this weekend while division 2 continues into the second round.

Three Limerick sides will fly the flag in the top tier this season with Garryowen, Shannon and Young Munster all competing at the highest level.

Tom Hayes’ Shannon return to the division following promotion from 1B last season and face a tough welcome back tie against 2017 champions Cork Con at Temple Hill on Saturday.

Con had a disappointing season by their standards last time out as they failed to lift silverware so you can expect the Cork side to come out all guns blazing in the early stages of the season.

Shannon have been busy in the off season bringing in 14 players however they did lose a big player in John Foley, with the second row linking up with Limerick rivals Young Munster.

Foley was just one of many top quality signings for the cookies who start their season at home to Terenure College on Saturday. The Dublin side should be in the mix again this season at the top of the table after losing out in the semi-finals last season.

Gearoid Prendergast has strengthened his side considerably after failing to make the playoffs last season.

Garryowen also face off against Dublin opposition on Saturday in their opening encounter as Dublin University visit Dooradoyle.

Conan Doyle’s side will miss influential scrum half and captain Neil Cronin this year after he put pen to paper for Munster.

Rob Guerin has made the move from Young Munster to fill the void at scrum half while another player to watch is flying winger Dan Hurley who also signed from the cookies.

Meanwhile The division 2 sides will get their second round games underway.

In 2A UL Bohemian come into this Saturday’s game against Galwegians off of the back of a disappointing home loss to Highfield.

Highfield will be there or thereabouts at the top of the table this season but Christy Neilan will be concerned that the margin of loss was so high despite having injuries coming into the tie.

The trip to Galwegians represents the perfect opportunity to bounce back against a side who lost out to Black Rock College in the opening round.

While Old Crescent welcome Cashel to Rosbrien on Friday evening as Matt Brown’s side look to follow up on their impressive away win against Queens University.

Cashel also opened their campaign with a home win against Dolphin.

In 2C Thomond can go two from two in the division today but face into a massively difficult test up north against Bangor.

Lock Aaron McCloskey hasn’t been named in the side having been taken off early in the opening day win over Seapoint. While the influential Evan Cusack does start at 10 having scored 18 points from the boot last saturday.

Meanwhile Bruff will hope to put last weeks 35-8 drubbing at the hands of Middleton behind them when they welcome City of Derry to Kilballyowen Park.

The northern side have started well claiming a bonus point win in their opener with Tullamore already equalling the number of wins that they put on the board last season in Division 2B.

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Luke Liddy

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