All-Ireland Leagues to return after 19 months in September

Women’s All-Ireland League will start things off on September 25th

Cork Constitution players celebrate after winning the 2018-2019 All-Ireland League Division 1A Final against Clontarf at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Cork Constitution players celebrate after winning the 2018-2019 All-Ireland League Division 1A Final against Clontarf at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

The fixtures have been confirmed for the Energia All-Ireland League for the 2021/22 season, with the competition returning on September 25th, 19 months since the last round of matches at the end of February last year before the 2019-20 season was abandoned.

Club rugby will return with the women’s All-Ireland League on Saturday, September 25th, to be followed a week later on October 2nd by the return of all 50 teams in the men’s All-Ireland League.

The default kick-off times for men’s games will be 2.30pm on Saturdays and 5pm on Saturdays for women’s games but can be adjusted based on the agreed preference of participating teams.

The two debutants in the women’s All-Ireland League, Ballincollig and Wicklow, will have home advantage in their first ever games at this level – against Suttonians and Old Belvedere.

According to a statement from the IRFU: “A 9-game regular women’s season will conclude on December 11th with a one-off modified format beginning on January 15th. A Top 4 round-robin will lead into a semi-finals and a final to determine the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League champions.

“Teams who place 5-10 in the regular season will switch to a six-team round-robin followed by playoffs for a one-off trophy. The ring-fencing of all 10 participating teams will be retained as planned for the next two seasons as the IRFU continue to support the development and long-term sustainability of participating teams. The Energia Women’s All-Ireland Cup will also return this season with details to be announced in due course.”

Yet, rather curiously and no doubt to the disappointment of many within the women’s game, the last two rounds of that nine-game regular season will clash with the Irish women’s World Cup qualifiers, which are scheduled to take place on the opening three weeks in December.

Cork Constitution are the last winners of the men’s AIL and they will begin the defence of their 2018/19 title away to Garryowen. With the majority of clubs stating a preference for a return to the previous format, an 18-game regular season will run until April 9th, 2022.

The men’s final is set for Sunday, May 1st 2022. Dates for the women’s All-Ireland League playoffs are subject to confirmation to avoid any clashes with the as-yet-to-be announced fixtures for the 2022 Women’s Six Nations Championship fixtures.

The full list of fixtures is available to view on https://www.irishrugby.ie/energiaail

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