Fixtures have been confirmed for the upcoming 2021/22 Energia All-Ireland League (AIL) season.
The action will get underway with a full round of the Women’s All-Ireland League on Saturday, September 25th.
The men’s league will return a week later on October 2nd, with all 50 men’s sides starting their season that weekend.
The default kick-off times for men’s games will be 2:30 pm on Saturdays and 5 pm on Saturdays for women’s games but can be adjusted based on the agreed preference of participating teams.
Speaking about the release of fixtures, IRFU Competitions Manager Kevin Beggs said: “We are delighted to announce firm fixtures for all 60 participating teams in the Energia All-Ireland League for the 2021/22 season.
“For clubs and their supporters, it means a lot to have dates to put in the diary and the chance to get back pitchside and enjoy the very best that club rugby has to offer.”
The full list of fixtures is available to view on https://www.irishrugby.ie/energiaail.
Briggs said that the fixture list is balanced to meet the needs of clubs across the upcoming season.
The IRFU Competitions Manager also stated that clubs will play localised games in preparation for the league’s openers.
“It will be preceded by localised matches in September to whet the appetite for the All-Ireland action to come.”
Women’s All-Ireland League
Two new sides will join the women’s ranks for the 2021/22 season – Ballincollig and Wicklow – and both will have home advantage in Round One.
Ballincollig will welcome Suttonians to Tanner Park while Wicklow will play host to Old Belvedere.
Defending Champions Railway Union will meet 2019 runners up UL Bohemian on October 23rd, two and a half years after they met in the last Women’s AIL final.
A nine-game regular women’s season will conclude on December 11th with a one-off modified format beginning on January 15th 2022.
A Top 4 Round-Robin will lead into semi-finals and a final to determine the 2021/22 Energia Women’s All-Ireland League Champions.
The bottom six sides will also be put into a round-robin system separate from the top four and will compete for a one-off trophy following play-offs.
Dates for the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League playoffs are subject to confirmation to avoid any clashes with the as-yet-to-be announced fixtures for the 2022 Women’s Six Nations Championship Fixtures.
The ring-fencing of all 10 participating teams will be retained as planned for the next two seasons as the IRFU continue to support the development and long-term sustainability of participating teams.
The Energia Women’s All-Ireland Cup will also return this season with details to be announced in due course.
In the Men’s AIL, there will be an 18-game regular season that will run up until April 9th 2022 and a final set for Sunday, May 1st 2022.
This move was made after a majority of clubs voted to return to the previous format of the Men’s AIL.
Cork Constitution are the last winners of the Men’s Energia AIL and kick off the defence of their 2018/19 title away to Garryowen.
By the time we get to our Energia All-Ireland League finals in May 2022, it will have been three years since those prestigious trophies were last lifted. It’s building up to be a very special season indeed.”