Clontarf begin title defence against Young Munster at Castle Avenue
Division 1A will revert to playoffs, semi-final and final to determine the champions
Clontarf’s Tadhg Furlong in action for the club against UCD. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
The IRFU today announced the return of semi-finals and final - Division 1A - to the Ulster Bank League club rugby landscape and also an extension in terms of volume to the ‘Friday Night Lights’ fixtures.
Champions Clontarf will take on Young Munster at Castle Avenue when taking the first step in their title defence.
Last year’s runners-up Old Belvedere host Bateman Cup holders Cork Constitution while Division 1A newbies Terenure take on Ballynahinch who beat Buccaneers in a play-offs to maintain their top flight status.
The elite division format has once again reverted to end of season playoffs. The Division 1A semi-finals take place on Saturday, April 25th with the final a fortnight later on May 9th. There will be an increase in the number of games streamed live on the IRFU website.
In Division 1B the opening round of fixtures sees the clash of two Limerick heavyweights as Garryowen, relegated from the top tier last term, welcome Shannon to Dooradoyle.
Newly promoted Nenagh Ormond must travel to Stevenson Park where Dungannon await on the opening day while Blackrock, relegated from 1B head for Parsonstown and a clash with NUIM Barnhall.
Ulster Bank League (Full 2014-2015 fixture list is available on www.irishrugby.ie)
Friday, September 12.
Division 1A: UCD v St Mary’s College, Belfield.
Division 1B: Garryowen v Shannon, Dooradoyle.
Division 2A: Skerries v Old Wesley, Holmpatrick.
Saturday, September 13th
Division 1A: Clontarf v Young Munster, Castle Avenue; Lansdowne v Dolphin, Aviva stadium; Old Belvedere v Cork Constitution, Anglesea Road; Terenure College v Ballynahinch, Lakelands.
Division 1B: Ballymena v Corinthians, Eaton Park; Galwegians v Dublin University, Crowley Park; Malone v Buccaneers, Gibson Park; UL Bohemian v Belfast Harlequins, tbc.
Division 2A: Banbridge v Cashel, Rifle Park; Bective Rangers v Seapoint, Donnybrook; Dungannon v Nenagh Ormond, Stevenson Park; NUIM Barnhall v Blackrock College, Parsonstown; Naas v UCC, Forenaughts; Rainey Old Boys v City of Derry, Hatrick Park; Thomond v QUB, Fitzgerald Park.
Division 2B: Boyne v Greystones, Shamrock Lodge; Bruff v Highfield, Kilballyowen Park; Navan v Kanturk, Balreask; Old Crescent v City of Armagh, Rosbrien; Richmond v Midleton, Canal Bank; Sligo v Ards, Strandhill; Tullamore v DLSP, Spollanstown; Wanderers v Sunday’s Well, Merrion Road.