The Ulster Rugby Championship returns this weekend with a full set of fixtures across the three divisions.
We have set up a competition page for Division 1 here and we’ll get Division 2 and Division 3 sorted in the coming weeks. However, up to the end of December we will be concentrating primarily on D1 and D2 with the occasional dip into D3.
URC Division 1
Ballyclare set the standard with a big win against Ballymoney.
With no promotion or relegation last season the league’s are as they were with the opening day fixtures for Saturday, 26th September, as below.
|Carrickfergus||14:30||Enniskillen||Tom Simms Memorial|
|Grosvenor||14:30||Clogher Vallery||Gibson Park|
We’ve caught up with Ballyclare, Cooke, Grosvenor and Instonians in our preseason fixtures and the bulk of the games had a bit of an edge to them as the players enjoyed “getting physical” after a few months with little activity.
Ballyclare looked hugely impressive in the 80 – 0 rout of Ballymoney where, in the words of their coach Mike McKeever, “Everything just stuck” .
Personally, I was impressed by Cooke last week, particularly on the counter attack, so their game at Shaws Bridge should be a cracker.
However, they are all looking like good games and they all have a touch of the unknown at this stage of the season and my predictions are changing everytime I look at the fixture list.
At the moment I’m going for Dromore, Carrick, Ballyclare, Grosvenor and Instonians to kick off the season with a win but any reversal wouldn’t be a surprise.
URC Division 2.
Larne developing youth this season.
Division 2 looks like it will be kicking off with an equally entertaining set of fixtures and it’s been a real struggle to decide what games we will be taking our cameras to.
The matches for Saturday. 26th September, are as follows.
We’ve had a look at Academy, Ballymoney, Larne and Lisburn in the pre-season and it’s been mixed results for most teams as they look at their extended squad.
However, Academy have looked energetic in their application in their two games we covered and Larne have an impressive set of youngsters coming through, giving them some much needed depth and competition for selection. It’s a problem that Coach Alasdair McKee will be glad to have.
Looking at the above fixtures I’ve a bit of a leaning towards the away sides with Coleraine, Academy, Limavady and Larne my picks for away wins with Randalstown my home banker!
URC Division 3
This league could suffer a bit of disruption in the early weeks with quite a few cross border fixtures.
The games scheduled for tomorrow are as follows.
We’ve only had a look at Holywood in this group so we’ll leave predictions to later in the season.