Colin Madden of Thomond in action against Bruff last season
THE start of the Division 2 action in the All-Ireland League and an all-LImerick Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Cup semi-final between Garryowen and Shannon dominates the action on the senior club scene locally this weekend.
Four Limerick clubs will begin their All-Ireland League campaigns this Saturday. In Division 2A, UL-Bohemian, who were relegated from 1B at the end of last season, host Munster rivals Highfield in their opening fixture at UL 4G rugby pitch.
UL-Bohemian finished second-from-bottom in 1B at the end of last season, before suffering relegation with a 23-18 play-off defeat to Nenagh Ormond. The Red, Red Robins will be looking to get their campaign off to a winning start this weekend to boost their prospects of bouncing straight back up to Division 1B.
UL-Bohs are joined in 2A by promoted Old Crescent, who were runaway winners of Division 2B last term when winning 17 and drawing one of the league fixtures.
Playing in 2A will be a step up for the Rosbrien side, but they are capable of making a big impact in their new division this season. Crescent kick-off their 2A programme with a long trip to Dub Lane to face Queens University, Belfast this Saturday.
Limerick's two sides in Division 2C are also in action this weekend with Thomond hosting Seapoint at Liam Fitzgerald Park and Bruff making the trip to Towns Park to face Midleton. All games start at 2.30pm.
Meanwhile, the senior club action begins on Friday night when All-Ireland League Division 1A rivals Garryowen and Shannon face-off in the semi-final of the Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Cup at Dooradoyle, 7.30pm.
Holders Garryowen earned their place in the semi-finals with an exciting 26-23 quarter-final win over local rivals Young Munster on Friday night last.
Shannon reached the semi-finals after scoring a convincing 36-0 away win over Sunday's Well on Saturday which featured six tries.
Coaching Team: Eugene McGovern, Director of Rugby; Matt Brown, Head Coach; David O'Brien, Club Captain; Shane Murphy, Asst Coach & Match Day Manager; Brian Touhy, Assistant Coach; Tom Cranley, Assistant Manager; Pat Rickard, Operations Manager; Gordon Cagney, Chartered Physio
Players in: Donal Murphy (Shannon); Jack Donovan (Overseas); Nahuel Dovala (Overseas)
Players out: Brendan Guilfoyle (Malahide); Sean Monaghan (Overseas); Shane O'Connell (Retired)
(Squad details not supplied at time of going to press)
Coaching Team: Head Coach: James Hickey; Assistant Coach: Thomas Cronin; S&C Coach: Darragh Kennedy; Physio - Darragh Kennedy
Players In: Paddy Devanney (St Senans); Robert Brockert (St Mary's); Colin Slater (Shannon), Mike Madden (Young Munster), Aaron McCloskey (Garryowen), Mike McMahon (Ennis), Conor Radcliffe (Young Munster), Aodghan Gallagher (Monkstown), Kealan McMahon (Richmond), Aaron Rice (Garryowen), Adam Guerin (St Mary's), Adam Murphy (UL-Bohemian), Eoin Carr (Young Munster), Sam Gleeson (Garryowen), Korey Brown (Young Munster), Adam Malone (Youghal).
Players Out: Donal Murphy (Old Crescent), Joe Moloney (Ennis), Conor McMahon (Richmond), Ger Finucane (Shannon), Daragh O'Neill (Young Munster)
Coaching Team: Director of Rugby: Noel Davis; Team Manager: Tony Clifford; Backs coach: Eoin Cahill; Forwards Coach: Taylor Jones; S&C: Darragh Mulcahy; Physio: Craig Reddan; Club Captain; Johnny Cleary; Vice Captain: Sean Hartigan
Bruff squad: Ger Collins; Paddy Cleary; Neilus Keogh; Rob Coates (Cashel); Brendan Keogh; Brian Bulfin; Brian Morrissey; Keith Laffen; Tommy O'Dwyer; Liam O'Dwyer; Tadgh O'Dwyer; Mike Cooke; Cillian Rea; Davy O'Grady; Jack O'Grady; Liam Treacy; Graham Whelan; Eric Finn; Cian Tierney; Sean Darcy; Cian Clifford; Tony Cahill; Liam Barrett; Callum Winchip; Conor Fitzgerald; Eamonn Cooke; Richie McCaulife; Tommy Carroll; Mikey O'Grady; Fionn Flanagan; Dean O'Shea, Daniel Jackson; Liam Barrett (Garryowen); Eamonn Costelloe (Garryowen); Gavin Reidy (NCW), Keith Bourke (Kilfeacle); Gary Boyce, Joe Barry, Fearghal Cooke, Brian Fanning, John Bulfin, Kevin McManus, Ross Maher (Nass), Taylor Jones (Greerton Marist)
Players Out: Maghnus Collins; Davy Horan; John Hogan; Brian Cahill; Brendan Deady; Mark Cosgrave; Brian Carroll (all retired), Odhran Ring.