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Thursday 16 August 2018

Miller eyes winning start for Blackrock

DIVISION 1A

Blackrock College v Clontarf, Stradbrook

New coach Eric Miller will look for a quick start at home to their cross-city rivals, with largely the same Blackrock squad that finished fifth last season.

'Tarf have landed the double transfer coup of signing the former Cork Con duo of number eight Frank Cogan and winger Richie Lane.

Lansdowne v Cork Constitution, Aviva Stadium

Former UCC three-quarter Willie Walsh may make his debut for Lansdowne on the back pitch behind the national stadium.

Young Munster v Old Belvedere, Tom Clifford Park

Champions Belvo' will start the defence of their crown in hostile Limerick with Bernard Smyth at openside and Richie Layden at number eight.

Garryowen v St Mary's College, Dooradoyle

Coach Peter Smyth has boosted his squad with the return of Darragh Fanning from Connacht and the signings of fly-half Johnny Watt and winger Marcus O'Driscoll.

DIVISION 1B

Dungannon v UCD, Stevenson Park

Bobby Byrne follows in the footsteps of the revered John McClean as UCD's director of rugby. Prop John Anthony Lee will have to pass a fitness test. Ireland U20 James Treacy could be involved.

DIVISION 2A

Dublin University v Greystones, College Park.

Trinity director of rugby Tony Smeeth will start the season with almost half his players new to the AIL on day one.

Dermot O'Rourke will play at scrum-half instead of Leinster-contracted Cillian Willis and injured Cian McNaughton.

Seapoint v Bective Rangers, Kilbogget Park

Promoted Seapoint are an ambitious club on the rise. Coaches Nigel Osbourne and Declan Keegan will be eager to make an impact on their first day at school.

Former Galwegians forwards Joe Moran and Ian Cullinane will make their debuts for Rangers.

Old Wesley v Old Crescent, Donnybrook

Coach Morgan Lennon will give Mark Sothern his AIL debut at tighthead in a scrum that will be tested by Old Crescent.

DLSP v Thomond, Kirwan Park

Captain Ken Copeland could overcome a foot injury for a Salmo' side that has lost all four matches in the Leinster League.

City of Derry v Terenure College, Judge's Road

Coach Ian Morgan will wait on the fitness of centres John Bollard and South African new signing Craig Kolarik.

DIVISION 2B

Wanderers v Nenagh Ormond, Aviva Stadium

What a way to start the season. These two clubs will become the first to play on the main pitch at the Aviva tomorrow in a game streamed live on www.irishrugby.ie.

Suttonians v Cashel, Station Road

Alan Walsh has returned to the club to start at number eight and second-row Seamus Cantillon has recovered from a bicep injury.

Banbridge v Navan, Rifle Park

Coach Leon Jordaan will rely on Australian fly-half Jack Mullen to make an impact in his role as the chief playmaker.

Connemara v Naas, Monastery Field

Naas player/coach Niall Carson will play at hooker, with captain Gary Rowan at lock and the exotically named Osama Farag at full-back.

NUIM Barnhall v Highfield, Parsonstown

Coach Denis Bowes will expect a lot from former Ireland U20 lock Conor McDermott and half-back Leinster U20 Interpro Robbie Holt.

Sligo v Boyne, Hamilton Park

Coach Craig McGrath will look to full-back Niall Kirby to kick the points on the first day in the AIL.

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