The All Ireland League returns with a bang this Friday night with the first in a planned series of ‘Friday Night Lights’ matches featuring local rivals…

The All Ireland League ‘Friday Night Lights’ series will feature some key local derbies across the divisions with the aim for the series to become a regular event this season and into the future.

Donnybrook in Dublin will play host to at least two ‘AIL Friday Night Lights’ clashes when Old Wesley host UCD at the end of October, while Old Wesley will also take on Dublin rivals Dublin University in April. Further games will be added to the ‘AIL Friday Night Lights’ schedule throughout the season.

IRFU Domestic Rugby Manager Scott Walker is excited by the prospect of more games under lights and said, “The domestic rugby landscape has changed and clubs are looking for ways to attract people to their matches. We feel that Friday Night Lights will prove a big boost for them in this. The Provincial teams have shown that there is an appetite for night games and the clubs can capitalise on this. By placing the emphasis on local derby matches we hope that clubs will attract more supporters but we also recognise that players, coaches and supporters have lives outside of rugby and we are adapting to that changed landscape”.

The rest of the league kicks into action on Saturday afternoon with reigning champions Cork Constitution travelling to Stradbrook to face a Blackrock side that surprised them early in the season last year. This is the last season under the current league structures. Divisions 1A and 1B will change to ten team leagues next year and it promises to be one of the most competitive leagues for many years as teams vie for position and promotion.

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Friday Night Lights Series

Friday, October 1st: Garryowen V Young Munster, Dooradoyle, 7.30pm
Friday October 8th: Shannon V Garryowen, Thomond Park, 7.30pm
Friday October 22nd: Old Wesley V UCD, Donnybrook 8pm
Friday April 1st: Old Wesley V Dublin University, Donnybrook, 8pm