Podcast: Bleak Future for AIL

Midleton Sligo

The IRFU’s plans for a restructuring of Ulster Bank All Ireland League from next season have not been met with a universally positive reaction.

KnockOn.ie’s Rob Murphy and regular contributor Dave Mahon sat down in Dublin on Saturday and discussed the decision to change the league to five Divisions of ten teams.

The Podcast is a follow up to the KnockOn.ie article on the structure changes to the competition.

Update on Our Big Goal


Thanks to everyone who has sent us team lists from the their club’s game at the weekend.

We have updated (as of 1pm Monday) the table below to show which clubs have sent us a team list and scorers from the game and the ones we are still hoping to get in. The cut off point is 7pm tomorrow evening.

Our Goal

We have set ourselves a goal of trying to get team news on as many teams as possible from the 62 games that took place this weekend across All Ireland league, Leinster, Munster and Ulster (Connacht J1 sides had the weekend off). 

Bleak Future for AIL

©INPHO/Colm O'Neill


Underwhelming, uninspiring and elitist.

The new plans for the All Ireland League have left us completely baffled as to how an organisation that gets so much right in terms of rugby administration can produce a document that – with the exception of the the top ten in clubs in Ireland – fails spectacularly to address the core issue facing the league, writes Rob Murphy.

Clubs in any sport need well constructed competitions to thrive and for the vast majority, the All Ireland league in its current format has failed to fit that purpose over the last decade. Moreover, the new plans do nothing to address that.

There is no question that the IRFU have woken up to the importance of the AIL in the context of professional rugby. They see the players that have emerged at AIL level to becoming fully fledged professionals. Connacht have six of them the other provinces aren’t far behind. The league is feeding the provincial rugby cash cow, so that is good.

They also appear to have grasped the fact that attendances have been pathetically low at Division 1a level and the competition needs some life. So play-offs have been introduced and the Aviva stadium will host the final. (A decision that must have been unthinkable for those within the organisation with no interest in club rugby. The marketeers as we call them).

Greystones 33 Wanderers 14

Greystones Wanderers

UBL Division 2b
Greystones 33

Wanderers 14

Greystones Scorers: Padraig Geoghegan and Brian Kingston 1 try each; 1 penalty try; Kurt Strachan 3 cons, 4 pens.  
Wanderers Scorers: Michael McLoughlin 2 tries, Ciaran Wade 1 con, Peter Brougham 1 try.

By Rob Murphy at Dr Hickey Park

The tides are turning a little in north Wicklow it seems, two seasons in the bottom tier is about as much as they’ll accept and this young panel have top four on their mind this season, heck they probably have a league title on the based case scenario list.

And why not?

This is a new Greystones, a much changed side from 2010/11 where they had reason to believe that they had the tools to go towards Division 1b rugby. A generation developed through a vibrant and innovative youths structure that is mining Wicklow rugby talent.

This Friday night tussle underlined as much. Greystones showed composure and sparks of class to build up a firm lead over last year’s Leinster Junior League champions and AIL Round Robin qualifier winners and they held firm during a final quarter push from an out of sorts visiting outfit.

Ulster Round up.

The Junior Cup is up and running in Ulster and the title holders are into round two after a weekend light on upsets.

Ballynahinch seconds began the defence of their crown with a win awat to Lisburn on Saturday while last year’s runners up Ballyclare are also through to round two after a win at Armagh 2.

Impressive performances included qualifying league 2 side Omagh’s big win over top tier side Ballymoney.

Leinster Round up

Monkstown Enniscorthy

Thanks to those of you who have sent your club’s team list and scorers from this weekends action. We will update this report all day and Monday and Tuesday as we get the details from around the clubs.

If you’re from one of the 34 clubs that were in action this weekend in Leinster, help us out and send us your team’s details to rob@knockon.ie

Over 680 players were involved in the 17 games we have rounded up below. We want to highlight that and more.

Leinster Division 1a

Dundalk lead the way in Division 1a after two rounds thanks to Saturday’s bonus point win against Suttonians.

UBL Results Round Up

Kanturk's captain Johnny O'Sullivan break to get his try, behinde Boyne's Brian Howell In AIL Division 2B Kanturk RFC v Boyne at Knocknacolan - Kanturk. Picture: Janusz Trzesicki

Here’s our full round up of the Ulster Bank All Ireland League action from the weekend.

As you’ll see, we have team news from some of the clubs in Division 2a and 2b and we’ll add to it as we get details in from clubs to rob@knockon.ie.

The main pic is ofKanturk’s captain Johnny O’Sullivan breaking away to get his try, bursting past Boyne’s Brian Howell in AIL Division 2B on a day when Kanturk got their first every AIL win.  Picture: Janusz Trzesicki


Scorers: Cork Constitution: Tries: Robert Jermyn, Tomas Quinlan; Con: Darragh Lyons 2; Pens: Darragh Lyons 2, Tomas Quinlan
Ballynahinch: Tries: Steve Macauley, Kyle McCall; Pens: Richard Reaney 2

HT: Cork Constitution 10 Ballynahinch 3

LANSDOWNE 9 CLONTARF 6, Aviva Stadium main pitch
Scorers: Lansdowne: Pens: Scott Deasy, Conor McKeon 2
Clontarf: Pens: David Joyce 2

HT: Lansdowne 3 Clontarf 6

Scorers: Old Belvedere: Try: Peter Robb; Con: Josh Glynn; Pen: Josh Glynn
St. Mary’s College: Tries: Conor Toolan, Penalty try; Cons: Gavin Dunne 2

HT: Old Belvedere 3 St. Mary’s College 7

Munster Round Up

Stephen Pyke scores one of his two tries in Clonmel's 51-14 win over Kinsale on Sunday

Munster Division 1

The opening day of the new season saw some impressive displays in Division 1 but Muskerry’s 30-20 home win over last year’s title challengers St Mary’s will steal the headlines and should have plenty of people taking note of the progress being made by the Cork side.

The top try scorers on day one were Clonmel who travelled south to newly promoted Kinsale and found their very best attacking play in a 51-14 comfortable bonus point win.

Caption: Stephen Pyke scoring for Clonmel. Pic: Clonmel RFC Facebook.

Clonakility put down an early season marker in a 30-11 win over Tralee securing the only other four try bonus point on the day. The other big contender Newcaslte West also showed some top form with a really impressive 20-8 win at Skibbereen.

UBL 1a and 1b Teams

Ulster Bank Ball

Ulster Bank League Division 1A

Temple Hill:  Cork Constitution            v          Ballynahinch

Cork Constitution: 1. Gavin Duffy, 2. Andrew O’Driscoll, 3. Rory Burke, 4. Cathal O’Flaherty, 5. Graeme Lawlor, 6. James Murphy, 7. James Ryan, 8. Luke Cahill,  9. Ryan Foley, 10. Thomas Quinlan, 11. Robert Jermyn, 12. Niall Kenneally, 13 Ned Hodson, 14. Michael Keyes, 15. Darragh Lyons (Capt),  SUBS: 16. Max Abbott, 17. Chris Corkery, 18. Sonny Dwyer, 19 Daragh Moloney, 20. Chris McAuliffe

Ballynahinch: 1. Craig Trenier, 2. Jonny Murphy, 3. Jonny Simpson, 4. John Donnan, 5. Kenny Morton, 6. James Simpson, 7. Paul Pritchard, 8. Charlie Butterworth, 9. Aaron Cairns. 10. Harry McAleese (Capt), 11 Robin Harte,   12. Richard Reaney, 13. Sam Arnold 14. Ross Adair, 15. Stephen McCauley SUBS: 16. Jordan Grattan 17. James McBriar, 18. Kyle McCall, 19. Stuart Orr, 20. Michael Graham

Ulster Previews

Millar McCall Wylie Ulster Junior Cup (Saturday 2:30)

The opening round of the Ulster Junior Cup kicks off on Saturday with reigning champions Ballynahinch 2s away to Lisburn and last year’s runners up Ballyclare taking on Armagh 2s.

We’ll have full predictions on Saturday morning but in the meantime, here are the fixtures.

First Round
Academy v Instonians

Second tier Academy have a good side but will stronggle against the Q1 leaders.

Away 2.

Munster Previews

Clonmel Clonakilty

Help us tell the story of your league in Munster this weekend.

Upwards of 560 players will be involved across the two Divisions and we want to know who played and who scored.

Send rob@knockon.ie your team’s details. Read more on how to get your team’s details to us

Junior League – Division 1: Round 1

Clonakilty  v Tralee , at The Vale, 14:30;

Bounce back time for Clonakilty, last season was about regrouping and holding firm, they almost made a Junior Cup final but Clanwilliam had their number in the last four. Tralee are another potential force in this league and will want to get off to a good start in west Cork.

Home by 2

Galbally  v St Senans , at Galbally, 14:30

Time for Galbally to turn the tide after a few near misses with relegation, they’ll look to start well but St Senan’s will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of previous Division 2 league winners by making a big impact in their first year back. They have the squad.

Away by 7

UBL Weekend Previews

Pic: NUIM Barnhall

Help us tell the story from the Ulster Bank League this weekend.

Upwards of 1040 players will be involved across the uncovered Divisions 2a and 2b and we want to know who played and who scored in those leagues.

Send rob@knockon.ie your team’s details. Read more on how to get your team’s details to us


Fixtures (All Saturday 2:30)

Cork Constitution v Ballynahinch

Not many would have had Con starting with two defeats, Ballynahinch make the huge journey down south in good spirits after an impressive nine point home win over Belvo that seems to indicate better days ahead for the county Down side.

Home by 2

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