Breaking News: Ulster Bank League Div1a Final set for Aviva Stadium Debut

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Ulster Bank League Div1a Final set for Aviva Stadium Debut

Ulster Bank League Season Kicks-off this Weekend

The IRFU have confirmed that the Ulster Bank League Div1a Final will be played at the Aviva Stadium for the very first time on Saturday May 9th 2015.

The top tier club final was last held at the national stadium in 2006 when Shannon defeated current Ulster Bank League Div1a champions Clontarf – a game in which the Northside club’s current Head Coach Andy Wood featured.

Lansdowne Road hosted a number of memorable finals between 2003 and 2006 which featured a host of current and past internationals not to mention players who have gone on to be involved in the professional game in Ireland and abroad. A return to IRFU HQ will provide a fitting showcase for the latest crop of talent players plying their trade in the UIster Bank League.

In the 2006 Final, Sean Cronin (Leinster & Ireland) lined out for Shannon alongside fellow current Irish International Donnacha Ryan (Munster & Ireland) with Alan Quinlan (Munster & Ireland) introduced off the bench.

The 2005 Final featured Rory Best (Ulster, Ireland & B&I Lions) and Ian Humphreys (Ulster) playing for Belfast Harlequins and Tony Buckley (Munster & Ireland) of Shannon.

Current Ireland International Mike Ross (Leinster & Ireland) lined out for Cork Constitution alongside Anthony Horgan (Munster & Ireland) in the 2004 Final and faced current Munster scrum coach Jerry Flannery (Munster & Ireland) and international referee John Lacey (Munster) from the Thomond Park club.

James Downey (Munster & Ireland), Bernard Jackman (Leinster, Ireland & Grenoble Coach) and Andy Dunne (Connacht) all played for Clontarf in the 2003 final against Ballymena who had Paddy Wallace (Ulster & Ireland), James Topping (Ulster, Ireland & B&I Lions) and Gary Longwell (Ulster & Ireland) amongst their ranks.

The Ulster Bank Leagues kick-off this coming weekend and with play-offs re-introduced to Div1a and with promotion and relegation across all four divisions each club will be hoping to get off to a flying start.

Louis Magee, IRFU President commented, “The Aviva Stadium is the home of Irish Rugby and the Ulster Bank Leagues are the pinnacle of the amateur game in Ireland. There have been some exciting Club finals played at our national stadium over the years and it is a fantastic opportunity for our Club game so showcase its quality and the talent of the players involved in the Ulster Bank League.”

Jim Ryan, Head of Branch Banking, Private and Financial Planning, Ulster Bank, commented, ”Ulster Bank is dedicated to the future of Irish rugby and we are delighted that the Division 1a final will be played at the Aviva Stadium for the first time. It is a fitting celebration of the club game and recognition of the contribution the players, clubs and their communities make to grassroots rugby in Ireland. We are looking forward to another outstanding season in club rugby, which no doubt will lead to a fantastic final in May.”

Note to Editors
Ulster Bank League Division 1a Round 1 Fixtures:
Friday 12th September, 2014
U.C.D. v St Mary’s College

Saturday 13th September, 2014
Clontarf v Young Munster
Lansdowne v Dolphin
Old Belvedere v Cork Constitution
Terenure College v Ballynahinch

Ulster Bank League Division 1b Round 1 Fixtures:
Friday 12th September, 2014
Garryowen v Shannon

Saturday 13th September, 2014
Ballymena v Corinthians
Galwegians v Dublin University
Malone v Buccaneers
U.L. Bohs v Belfast Harlequins

Ulster Bank League Division 2a Round 1 Fixtures:
Friday 19th September, 2014
Skerries v Old Wesley

Saturday 20th September, 2014
Banbridge v Cashel
Bective Rangers v Seapoint
Dungannon v Nenagh Ormond
N.U.I.M Barnhall v Blackrock College
Naas v U.C.C.
Rainey Old Boys v City of Derry
Thomond v Queens University

Ulster Bank League Division 2b Round 1 Fixtures:
Saturday 20th September, 2014
Boyne v Greystones
Bruff v Highfield
Navan v Kanturk
Old Crescent v City of Armagh
Richmond v Midleton
Sligo v Ards
Tullamore v D.L.S.P.
Wanderers v Sunday’s Well

All Ireland League Finals held at Lansdowne Road
2005/2006 Shannon 30 Clontarf 3
2004/2005 Shannon 25 Belfast Harlequins 20
2003/2004 Shannon 22 Cork Constitution 16
2002/2003 Ballymena 28 Clontarf 18

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