Carlow and Tullow will be hoping to emulate Kilkenny’s form last weekend out as the two clubs get their respective Leinster league campaigns underway this Sunday.
Tullow v Wicklow – 3pm Sunday @ Black Gates
Tullow have had a fairly decent pre-season and look, on form anyway, to be a by better prepared this season that last in heading into another year in Division 1B. With Malahide out of the way through promotion and Suttonians dropping into 1B after a torrid 2015 campaign, there should be scope for some extra points this time around. (Get Tullow’s fixtures here)
Having walloped Carlow last weekend in the south east league, Tullow make their start with a home/away fixture against Wicklow, last season’s Provincial Towns Cup winners. They’ve also gone three-for-three in the pre-season with wins over A1 contenders Gorey and last year’s winners (and beaten PTC finalists) Enniscorthy, while also whitewashing Wexford Wanderers 36-0 in the past fortnight.
Wicklow were runners up in 1B last year and will be tough opposition for Tullow’s opening fixture.
Carlow v Cill Dara – 3pm Sunday @ Silken Thomas Park
Carlow, I feel, shouldn’t be in 2A. They’ll be kicking themselves after last season when they had a flying start to the league before the wheels started to wobble after Christmas with a 24-24 draw followed by a loss to Edenderry. Allowing Railway Union as close as they did on the last day of the season ensure their opposition a losing bonus point and ultimately cost Carlow a playoff spot for promotion.
Losses in pre-season against Kilkenny and Tullow will hurt but they’ll be hoping to lay down a marker, starting their campaign on the road against Cill Dara who finished bottom of 1B last season picking up just two wins out of fourteen.
Kilkenny v Dundalk – 3pm Saturday @ Mill Road
For Kilkenny, life in their second consecutive season in Division 1A got off to a good start last weekend with a win over Monkstown. Convincing in the first half, Kilkenny allowed Monkstown back into the game in the final 20 minutes, the sending off of Joe Manuel not helping matters and he’ll be a loss.
They’ll be on the road on Saturday to face Dundalk who dropped out of the AIL last year. Despite the AIL experience, I think Dundalk would have rathered anyone but Enniscorthy away for their first game of the season and it went the way of the Wexford men on a 27-19 final score.
That result alone should spur them on to show they’re contenders for promotion back to the big leagues and for Kilkenny, on the road in wet conditions on Saturday, it might prove something of a struggle.
We’ll have rugby roundups on Monday with updates Saturday and Sunday on air on Scoreline.