All-Ireland League (rugby union)

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All-Ireland League
Ulster Bank All-Ireland League logo.jpg
Sport Rugby union
Instituted 1990
Number of teams 50
Nations Ireland
Holders Cork Constitution FC (2016-17)
Most titles Shannon RFC (9 titles)
Website www.irishrugby.ie

The All-Ireland League (AIL), known for sponsorship reasons as the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League, is the national league system for the 50 senior rugby union clubs in Ireland, covering both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The league was inaugurated in the 1990–91 season.

The league is the second highest level of rugby union in Ireland, as professional teams representing the four provinces of Ireland play in the Pro12.

Division 1 sides are allowed to field only two professional players in their matchday sides, and only one may be a forward. Professional players may not participate in Division 2 matches. Foreign professional players may not play in the League.[1]

History[edit]

The All-Ireland League has been dominated by teams from Limerick (Garryowen, Shannon, Young Munster) who have won 13 out of 23 titles. Teams from Munster have won 17 out of 23. The All-Ireland League was not sponsored in the initial season, but was sponsored for six years by Insurance Corporation of Ireland.[2][3][4] The League was sponsored by Allied Irish Banks from 1998 to 2010.[5][6][7] Ulster Bank has sponsored the league since 2010.[8][9]

The All-Ireland League (AIL) was introduced in the 1990-91 season with two divisions after almost five years of discussion and consultation with clubs, Division 1 with 9 clubs and Division 2 with 10 clubs.[10][11][12] The AIL League was expanded to four divisions in 1993/94,[13] with small variations in the numbers of teams per division in subsequent seasons.[14][15] In season 2000-01 the All-Ireland League was restructured to three divisions, each with 16 teams.[16] In 2004 the I.R.F.U. produced a blueprint which involved scrapping the AIL League as it existed and re-introduction of a provincial league system in 2005-06 before Christmas which would act as qualifiers for a curtailed three division AIL structure in the second half of the season.[17][18] This model did not receive the support of clubs or rugby pundits. In 2007 the IRFU agreed that the structure of the AIL League would remain as three divisions with 16 clubs each for seasons 2008/09 and 2009/10. In Season 2009-10 Division 1 was split into 1A and 1B with eight teams in each as a trial and then continued in season 2010-11.[19] In season 2011-12 Division 1A and 1B had 10 clubs each and Divisions 2 and 3 were reformatted as Divisions 2A and 2B with 16 clubs in each division.[19]

Tournament format[edit]

The league is currently divided into five divisions of ten teams each, with teams playing each other twice (once at home and once away).[20] At the end of the season, the top four teams in Division 1A play off semi-finals and a final for the championship and the bottom team in Divisions 1A is replaced by the top team in Division 1B, with the second-bottom team entering a promotion/relegation play-off with the second-placed team in 1B. The bottom two teams in 1B, 2A and 2B are relegated and replaced by the top two teams from Divisions 2A, 2B and 2C respectively. The two teams finishing bottom of Division 2C are relegated to the relevant provincial league and replaced by the two teams finishing top of a "round robin" tournament between the four provincial league winners. The four provincial junior leagues are the Connacht Junior League, the Leinster League, the Munster Junior League and the Ulster Qualifying League.

Previous winners[edit]

† From season 1990-91 through 1996-97, the team placing top of Division 1 was crowned AIL League Champion
‡ From season 1997-98, playoffs were introduced which was contested by the top four teams in Division 1 for the title of AIL League Champion; in the semi-finals the top placed team played the 4th placed team and the 2nd placed team the 3rd placed team
§ The title in 2013-14 was decided on final league position; there were no play-offs.

Club Statistics[edit]

Team Wins Finals Winning Seasons First Final/
Runner-up
Last Final/
Runner-up
Shannon 9 10 1994/95, 1995/96, 1996/97, 1997/98, 2001/02, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2008/09 1991/92 2008/09
Cork Constitution 5 12 1990/91, 1998/99, 2007/08, 2009/10, 2016/17 1990/91 2016/17
Garryowen 3 8 1991/92, 1993/94, 2006/07 1990/91 2007/08
Clontarf 2 8 2013/14, 2015/16 2002/03 2016/17
St Mary's College 2 4 1999/2000, 2011/12 1999/2000 2010/11
Lansdowne 2 4 2012/13, 2014/15 1996/97 2014/15
Old Belvedere 1 2 2010/11 2010/11 2013/14
Young Munster 1 2 1992/93 1992/93 2011/12
Ballymena 1 1 2002/03 2002/03 2002/03
Dungannon 1 1 2000/01 2000/01 2000/01
Belfast Harlequins 0 1 2004/05 2004/05
Blackrock 0 1 1994/95 1994/95

Teams[edit]

Divisions for the 2017-18 season.

Division 1A[edit]

Location of teams in the 2017-18 All-Ireland League Division 1A
Team Location Stadium Capacity
Buccaneers Athlone Dubarry Park 10,000
Clontarf Dublin (Clontarf) Castle Avenue 3,200
Cork Constitution Cork (Ballintemple) Temple Hill 1,000
Dublin University Dublin College Park 200
Garryowen Limerick Dooradoyle 1,500
Lansdowne Dublin (Ballsbridge) Aviva Stadium (Back Pitch) 1,000
St Mary's College Dublin (Templeogue) Templeville Road 4,000
Terenure College Dublin (Terenure) Lakelands Park 3,000
UCD Dublin (Belfield) UCD Bowl 3,000
Young Munster Limerick Tom Clifford Park 1,000

Division 1B[edit]

Location of teams in the 2017-18 All-Ireland League Division 1B
Team Location Stadium Capacity
Ballynahinch Down Ballymacarn Park 1,000
Ballymena Antrim Eaton Park 1,000
Banbridge Banbridge Rifle Park 1,000
Dolphin Cork Musgrave Park 9,251
Naas Kildare Forenaughts 3,000
Old Belvedere Dublin (Ballsbridge) Anglesea Road 1,000
Old Wesley Dublin (Donnybrook) Donnybrook Rugby Ground 7,000
Shannon Limerick Thomond Park 26,500
UCC Cork Mardyke 5,000
UL Bohemians Limerick Thomond Park 26,500

Division 2A[edit]

Location of teams in the 2017-18 All-Ireland League Division 2A
Team Location Stadium Capacity
Armagh Armagh Palace Grounds 1,000
Blackrock College Dublin (Blackrock) Stradbrook Road 4,000
Cashel Cashel Spafield 2,500
Galway Corinthians Galway Corinthian Park 1,000
Galwegians Galway Crowley Park 2,000
Greystones Greystones Dr Hickey Park 1,000
Highfield Cork Woodleigh Park 4,000
Malone Belfast (Cregagh) Gibson Park 1,000
Nenagh Ormond Nenagh New Ormond Park 1,000
Queen's University Belfast Dub Lane 1,000

Division 2B[edit]

Location of teams in the 2017-18 All-Ireland League Division 2B
Team Location Stadium Capacity
Belfast Harlequins Belfast Deramore Park 1,000
City of Derry Derry (Strathfoyle) Judges Road 1,000
Dungannon Dungannon Stevenson Park 1,000
MU Barnhall Leixlip Parsonstown 1,000
Navan Navan Balreask Old 4000
Rainey Old Boys Magherafelt Hatrick Park 1,000
Old Crescent Limerick Rosbrien 4,000
Skerries Dublin (Skerries) Holmpatrick 1,000
Sundays Well Cork Musgrave Park 9,251
Wanderers Dublin (Ballsbridge) Merrion Road 1,000

Division 2C[edit]

Location of teams in the 2017-18 All-Ireland League Division 2C
Team Location Stadium Capacity
Bangor Bangor Upritchard Park
Bective Rangers Dublin (Donnybrook) Donnybrook Rugby Ground 7,000
Bruff Bruff Kilballyowen Park 1,000
Malahide Malahide Estuary Road
Midleton Midleton Towns Park 400
Omagh Omagh Mellon Park
Seapoint Dublin (Killiney) Kilbogget Park 4,000
Sligo Strandhill Hamilton Park 1,000
Thomond Limerick Liam Fitzgerald Park 1,000
Tullamore Tullamore Spollanstown 1,000

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.irishrugby.ie/6855_20932.php[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Irish Examiner. (1991). All-Ireland League boost, 6 February, page 17
  3. ^ Irish Independent. (1991). League is insured for success, 6 February, page 5
  4. ^ Irish Times. (1993). ICI extends its AIL sponsorship to 1997, 1 September, page 17
  5. ^ Irish Times. (1997). Clubs to reap benefit of £1.3 million boost, 10 September, page 21
  6. ^ Rugby News: AIB to give €5m and five years to clubs, 26 September, page 26
  7. ^ Irish Times. (2010). AIB bring to an end League deal, 6 February, Sport, page A8
  8. ^ Irish Independent. (2011). AIL gets Ulster Bank sponsorship boost, 11 January, Sport, page 9
  9. ^ "IRFU and Ulster Bank Announce New Community Rugby Partnership". SportsNews Ireland. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2011. 
  10. ^ Irish Times. (1990). New League structure is exciting challenge, 17 September, Sport, page A6
  11. ^ Irish Times. (1991). On Rugby: All-Ireland League highlight of the season, 30 April, page 18
  12. ^ Irish Times. (1995). Imperative for Ireland that AIL continues, 10 October, page 16
  13. ^ Sunday Independent. (1994). Insurance Corporation AIL, 10 April, Sport, page 22L
  14. ^ Irish Examiner. (1995). AIL Tables, 3 April, Sports, page 16
  15. ^ Sunday Independent. (1996). Insurance Corporation League, 28 April, Sport page 8
  16. ^ Irish Independent. (2000). Top clubs facing choice over season's start time, 15 December, Sport, page 21
  17. ^ Irish Times. Rugby News: Existing format of AIL to be scrapped, 21 February, Sport Supplement, page B3
  18. ^ Irish Independent. (2004) IRFU reveal blueprint to overhaul club structures, 22 February, Sport, page 2
  19. ^ a b Irish Times. (2010). Rugby News: New Format for All-Ireland League, 29 July, page 22
  20. ^ Ups and Downs in AIL Archived 13 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Sunday Independent. (1991). Con-gratulations: Garryowen 3 pts Constitution 9 pts, 27 January, Sport 3, page 33
  22. ^ Irish Examiner (1991). Conqurerors: Garryowen 3 Cork Constitution 9, 28 January, page 20
  23. ^ Limerick Leader (1992). Simply the best!: Cork Constitution 11 Garryowen 15, 24 February, page 1
  24. ^ Irish Independent. (1992). In a league of their own: Dooradoyle delight as Garryowen celebrate finest hour, 24 February, Sport, page 8
  25. ^ Irish Times. (1992). Honours-laden Garryowen enjoy greatest hour, 24 February, page 17
  26. ^ Irish Independent. (1993). Munster's set for the mother of all parties, 15 February, Sport, page 10
  27. ^ Irish Examiner. (1993). Glory, Glory Munsters: St Mary's College 14 Young Munster 17, 15 February, Sports, page 6
  28. ^ Irish Times. (1993). The day Young Munster took Dublin by storm: St Mary's Col 14 Young Munster 17, 15 February, page 13
  29. ^ Sunday Independent. (1994). 'Rock left to sing the blues: Garryowen 9 Blackrock 3, 10 April, Sport, page 22L
  30. ^ Sunday Independent. (1994). Garryowen weather storm to snatch league glory, 10 April, Sport, page 22L
  31. ^ Irish Times. (1994). Garryowen deserve emotional victory, 11 April, Sport, page A6
  32. ^ Irish Examiner (1995). Shannon supreme: Shannon 16, Instonians 13, 3 April, Sports, page 16
  33. ^ Irish Times. (1995). Shannon celebrate with unbeaten record: Shannon 16 Instonians 13, 3 April, Sport, page A6
  34. ^ Sunday Independent. (1996). Munsters spoil party: Garryowen 12 Young Munster 37, 28 April, Sport, 1S
  35. ^ Limerick Leader. (1996). Tears of joy as Shannon take it, 29 April, page 11
  36. ^ Limerick Leader. (1997). A league of their own, 7 April, Leadersport, page 1
  37. ^ Limerick Leader. (1997). The Cup that floweth over!: Shannon 28 Old Crescent 15, 7 April, pages 14-15
  38. ^ Irish Times. (1997). Shannon spirit flows to victory: Shannon 28 Old Crescent 15, 7 April, Sport, page A7
  39. ^ Sunday Independent. (1997). For the Record: Rugby - AIL Division 1, League Table, 13 April, Sports Extra, page 23L
  40. ^ Irish Times. (1998). Shannon are side of the century: Shannon 15 Garryowen 9, 27 April, Sport, page A6
  41. ^ Irish Independent. (1998). Rugby: Shannon goes forth in the style of true champions, 27 April, Sports Supplement, page 7
  42. ^ Sunday Independent. (1999). Rugby: Con go extra yard - Garryowen pat the penalty for missed opportunities, 2 May, Sport, page 23
  43. ^ Irish Times. (1999). A tired Bradley makes history, 3 May, page A7
  44. ^ Irish Examiner. (1999). Constitution bravehearts dig deepest in marathon, 3 May, Sports, page 22
  45. ^ Irish Times. (2000). Brennan enjoys a choking release, 22 May, Sport, page A7
  46. ^ Sunday Independent. (2000). Rugby: Saints get their reward - St Mary's can celebrate league title despite mediocre performance, St Mary's College 25 Lansdowne 22, 21 May, Sport, page S2
  47. ^ Sunday Independent. (2001). Dungannon deliver: Dungannon 46 Cork Constitution 12, 27 May, Sport, page S1
  48. ^ Irish Times. (2001). Rugby: All-Ireland Leagur Final - Dungannon prove class act, Dungannon 46 Cork Constitution 12, 28 May, Sport, page 5
  49. ^ Irish Times. (2001). Rugby: Shannon set standard again - Shannon 21 Cork Constitution 17, 6 May, Sport, page A5
  50. ^ Sunday Independent. (2002). Rugby: Shannon bank league title - Shannon 21 Cork Con 17, 5 May, Sport, page8
  51. ^ Irish Times. (2003). All-Ireland League First Division Final: Dream Topping try tops it off nicely, Clontarf 18 Ballymena 28, 12 May, Sport, page A5
  52. ^ Sunday Independent. (2003). Rugby: That old black magic - Ballymena 28 Clontarf 18, 11 May, Sport, page 14
  53. ^ Irish Times. (2004). Rugby: AIL League Division One Final - Depth of Shannon proves the difference, Shannon 22 Cork Constitution 16, 10 May, Sport, page A8
  54. ^ Sunday Independent. (2004). Keogh seals it for Shannon: Cork Con 16 Shannon 22, 9 May, Sport, page 11
  55. ^ Irish Times. (2005). Rugby, All-Ireland League, Division One Final - Shannon keep winning habit - Shannon 25 Belfast Harlequins 20, 9 May, Sport, page 110
  56. ^ Sunday Independent. (2005). Shannon survive a late scare to claim title, 8 May, Sport, page 12
  57. ^ Sunday Independent. (2006). AIB League Finals: Clontarf blitzed by Shannon's fluent flow - Shannon 30 Clontarf 3, 14 May, Sport, page 14,
  58. ^ Irish Times. (2006). All-Ireland League Division One Final: Shannon irresistible in full flow - Shannon 30 Clontarf 3, 15 May, Sports Supplement, page 9
  59. ^ Irish Times. (2007). Rugby News: All-Ireland League Division One Final - Hickey secures title for Garryowen, Garryowen 16 Cork Constitution 15, 7 May, Sports Supplement, page 5
  60. ^ Sunday Independent. (2007). Kicking Hickey hold his nerve, 6 May, Sport, page 10
  61. ^ Irish Times. (2008). All-Ireland League Final: Manning ensures Constitution finish job - Cork Constitution 18 Garryowen 8, 12 May, Sport Supplement, page A6
  62. ^ Irish Independent. (2008). Manning banishes demons for Cork Con: Cork Con 18 Garryowen 8, 12 May, Sport, page 21
  63. ^ Irish Times. (2009). Shannon have last say with first try - Shannon 19 Clontarf 19 (after extra time: two tries each, but Shannon win for scoring first try), 11 May, Sports Supplement, page A5
  64. ^ Irish Independent. (2009). O'Donovan try draws relief for Shannon: Shannon 19 Clontarf 19 (Shannon win on first try scored), 11 May, Sport, page 28
  65. ^ Irish Times. (2010). Rugby AIB All Ireland League Finals: Cork Constitution go the distance - Cork Constitution 17 St Mary's College 10, 10 May, Sports Supplement, page A6
  66. ^ Irish Independent. (2010). Healy's late shoe seals Con double: Cork Con 17 St Mary's 10, 10 May, Sport, page 17
  67. ^ Irish Independent. (2011). Mary's falter at final hurdle: Old Belvedere 25 St Mary's 19, 4 April, Sport, page 23
  68. ^ Irish Times. (2011). Rugby Ulster Bank League: Old Belvedere make St Mary's rue slow start, 4 April, Sport, page A11
  69. ^ Irish Times. (2012). Rugby Ulster Bank League Division One A: Another comeback sees Mary's take title - St Mary's 23 Young Munster 19, 23 April, Sports Supplement, page A6
  70. ^ Irish Independent. (2012). Rugby: Ulster Bank AIL Division 1A - Hogan raises toast to hail Mary's spirit, St Mary's 23 Young Munster 19, 23 April, Sport, page 21
  71. ^ Irish Independent. (2013). Ruddock hails players as Lansdowne seal deal: Lansdowne 32 Clontarf 25, 1 April, Sport, page 25
  72. ^ Irish Examiner. (2013). Rugby: Ulster Bank League - Roche hero for Lansdowne, 1 April, Sport, page 13
  73. ^ Irish Times. (2014). All in the scrum: Ulster Bank League - Clontarf snatch title on final day, Clontarf 27 Ballynahinch 13, 21 April, Sport, page A5
  74. ^ Sunday Independent. (2014). AIL Division 1A: Clontarf secure maiden title as Belvo blow their chance - Clontarf 27 Ballynahinch 13, 20 April, Sport, page 4
  75. ^ Irish Independent (2014). Ulster Bank All-Ireland League Division 1A, League Table, 21 April, Sport, page 34
  76. ^ Sunday Independent. (2015). AIL Division 1A: Deasy guides Lansdowne to title glory - Lansdowne 18 Clontarf 17, 10 May, Sport, page 11
  77. ^ Irish Independent. (2015). Deasy penalty seals it for classy Lansdowne: Lansdowne 18 Clontarf 17, 11 May, Sport, page 20
  78. ^ Deasy Delivers League Title-Winning Blow For Lansdowne Archived 15 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  79. ^ Irish Independent. (2016). Rugby: Classy Carbery ensures gutsy Clontarfedge final thriller - Clontarf 28 Cork Con 25, 9 May, Sport, page 11
  80. ^ Irish Examiner. (2016). Carbery call shots as 'Tarf foil Con: Clontarf 28 Cork Constitution 25, 9 May, Sport, page 15
  81. ^ Clontarf Claim Second Title After Thrilling League Final Archived 5 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  82. ^ "Cork Con put crowning touch to their season". Irish Examiner. 8 May 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2017.