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AIL season takes shape as IRFU unveil men and women's fixture list

The new club season will get under way on 28 September with the men’s division 1 kicking off a week later.

A general view of the Aviva Stadium back pitch Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

THE FIRST MATCH of the 2018/19 All Ireland League season will be played in the shadow of the Aviva Stadium with Wanderers hosting Greystones in a Division 2B clash on opening night, Friday 28 September.

While Division 1 fixtures won’t go under the gun until the first weekend in October, the women’s AIL and men’s Division 2A, 2B and 2C will all have their opening round in the books by the end of Saturday 29 September.

Defending women’s AIL champs UL Bohemians host Munster rivals first up in Annacotty. Beaten finalists Old Belvedere travel to Belfast to meet Cooke, while newly promoted St Mary’s begin with a tough home clash against last year’s regular-season runners-up Railway Union.

Bohemians players celebrate UL Bohs celebrate their title. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

This season will mark a move away from Sunday fixtures for the women’s AIL with 11 of the 14 gameweeks in the season ahead scheduled for a Saturday kick-off.

As the IRFU announced the fixture list today, they said the decision “was taken in consultation with the clubs to encourage them to create a festival feel to match days and attract more members to both games.”

Royce Burke-Flynn, Peter Dooley and Ben Reilly Leinster prop Peter Dooley carries into contact against Clontarf's Royce Burke-Flynn and Ben Reilly. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The men’s Division 1A schedule will begin with the enticing prospect of 2016 champions Clontarf hosting current holders Lansdowne under lights on Friday 5 October.

The following day, 2017 winners Cork Con will begin their campaign at home to newly promoted Shannon.

All-Ireland League opening weekend fixtures

(Kick-offs Saturday 29 September 2.30pm unless stated)

Men’s Division 2A: Blackrock v Galwegians, Cashel v Dolphin, Navan v Nenagh Ormond, Queens University v Old Crescent, UL Bohemians v Highfield.

Men’s Division 2B: Wanderers v Greystones (Friday September 28, 8pm), Dungannon v Skerries, Corinthians v Belfast Harlequins, Barnhall v Rainey, Sundays Well v Sligo.

Men’s Division 2C: Ballina v Omagh, Derry v Tullamore, Malahide v Bangor, Midleton v Bruff, Thomond v Seapoint.

Women’s Division 1 (Kick-off Saturday 29 September, 5pm): Blackrock v Galwegians, Cooke v Old Belvedere, St Mary’s v Railway Union, UL Bohemians v Highfield.

(Below kick-offs Saturday 6 October, 2.30pm unless stated)

Men’s Division 1A: Clontarf v Lansdowne (5 October, 8pm), Cork Con v Shannon, Garryowen v Dublin University, UCD v UCC, Young Munster v Terenure.

Men’s Division 1B: Ballymena v Malone, Buccaneers v Naas, Armagh v  Old Wesley, Old Belvedere v Banbridge, St Mary’s College v Ballynahinch.

See the full fixture list for the men’s AIL here

See the full fixture list for the women’s AIL here

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Sean Farrell

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