Division 1B proved to be another tightly contested affair, with plenty of games having just a couple of points separating them in the end, while UCC and Old Wesley were big winners.
Old Wesley 37-7 Naas, Energia Park
Old Wesley started their campaign in style by handing Johny Murphy’s Naas a hefty 37-7 defeat. They avenged last season’s semi-final result which seen them crash out of the competition/
Straight from the opening whistle the hosts were intent on playing attacking rugby. a great team move finished in a try for winger David Poff. This was the first of five tries for his team. They secured the all-important bonus point. They couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season.
Number 8 Ryan Casey scoring the only try for the Kildare men. Their attention moves to Highfield at home on Saturday.
Old Belvedere 32-28 St Mary’s, Ollie Campbell Park
We’ve become accustom to only a few points separating these sides when they’ve met in recent seasons and this game was no different. It was a 9 try thriller.
Old Belvedere led 32-7 at the 55th minute mark. They scored 5 tries on their way to victory including a debut score for Jayden Beckett and another for second row Connor Owende who was making his 100th AIL appearance.
St Mary’s who are now coached by former Irish International Sean Cronin, almost staged the ultimate comeback. They scored 21 unanswered points. But, continuing with the trend in recent years, it was the home team that prevailed to earn the victory.
Highfield 26-20 Banbridge, Woodleigh Park
Promotion hopeful Highfield took all 5 points with a solid 26-20 win over Ulsterman Banbridge.
Cian Bohane, Miah Cronin and Aidan Kearney were the try scorers for the Cork team. Janes Taylor kicked 3 successful conversions.
There was plenty for the visitors to be happy about with their performance. Ulster player Rob Lyttle scoring the pick of their tries after a great break. They headed home with the losing bonus point.
City of Armagh 22-20 Buccaneers, Palace Grounds
City of Armagh just about denied Eddie O’Sullivan Buccaneers the perfect start to life back in 1B.
City of Armagh could be potential dark horses in 1B this season. They’ll be hoping to build on Saturday’s performance.
Former Irish Eddie O’Sullivan will take plenty of positives from the game. Even though, they have just come up from 2A, they’ll have high expectations in this league.
Malone 12- 36 UCC, Gibson Park
UCC started life back in 1B with an impressive 24-point win on the road, signalling their intent for the upcoming season where promotion straight back to the top tier will be at the front of their minds.
Malone will want to bounce back quickly as they won’t to be near the bottom end of the table like last season.