Here we share Aidan’s thoughts on the second division of AIUC 2017.
Alongside the All-Ireland Ultimate Championship Division 1, there is a second division taking place this weekend in the same venue. This is for any club that didn’t qualify out of their region, or didn’t participate in the first place.
This year, we have nine teams fighting for the Division 2 title. Not only does this accolade tend to act as a precursor to a future at the top of the ladder*, but finishing position plays a massive part in bids for next year’s events. Depending on how teams finish at the bottom of Div 1 and the top of Div 2, one of our two regions (East and West) can potentially lose a bid to the other. This hasn’t occurred yet, so at the moment each region gets 4 a piece.
So for example: If Division 1 ends up with 6: W 7: E 8:W and Division 2 finishes 1: E 2: W 3: E, East gains a bid for the following year due to having two of the top three in division 2 and only one of the bottom three in division. Confused/don’t care? I’ll move on quickly…
1 – Uproar (Kildare)
The fifth place team in Div 1 last season, the club from just outside Dublin have had a massive amount of roster turnover since then. They have suffered with a bit of a transitional year and found themselves missing even more key players for the weekend of Regionals as they missed out on the top four spots.
The club will look to consolidate themselves by winning the division and doing all they can to help strengthen the East next year.
2 – Tribe 1 (Galway)
Another side who will be frustrated to see themselves down in the second tier this weekend. Tribe have a good, young team full of athletic talent but missed out on Div 1 due to a really strong showing for the West division this season.
Like Uproar, they will expect to work their way past their opponents and attempt to show that they don’t deserve to be thought of as a second division side.
3 – XVI 2 (Dublin)
Just like their first team, expect to see a young, plucky side who are out to garner experience. Expect several U17 internationals to feature and attempt to run the legs off everyone that they face.
Interestingly, they are grouped with Uproar, who they hold one giant upset victory over from earlier in the season. If they can do it again, they might be an outside bet for the final.
4 – Gravity 2 (Dublin)
A team that is hard to predict. Looks like a side full of players who gave a lot at training but just aren’t ready for first team action, along with some experienced internationals in the form of Emer Staunton and Sinead O’Sheil Fleming. While not as strong on paper as previous Gravity 2 sides, would expect them to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack this year.
5 – Tribe 2 (Galway)
Complete unknown to be honest. At a guess, will feature a number of young college players and pick ups as I expect Tribe will stack their first team as much as they can. It seems they are currently ineligible to finish above 5th due to roster regulations.
6 – Ballincolig 2 (Cork)
As I explained in the Div 1 preview, this is a club that prides itself on developing young talent. I expect this second team to display lots of it! I’m unsure if they will challenge the first teams above them, but can see them battling it out for a semi-final spot.
7 – Rebel 2 (Cork)
I expect this side to fly up the seedings this weekend as they are possibly the strongest second team in the division. Rebel just seem to have that bit more depth than those around them. Like Collig above, they will feature several school-level players with big futures as well as a number of older, established talents that might not have trained enough to make the first team this year.
8 – Gravity 3 (Dublin)
An interesting one. Probably as strong as their second team on paper, featuring a lot of older players who don’t really train but have the clear ability. Also ineligible for a top four finish due to rostering issues.
9 – PELT 3 (Limerick)
After establishing a Junior team earlier in the season, I expect a number of them to make their debuts for this side. It’s hard to guess who else will be featuring, but if any club know how to call in old faces and get them to don the jersey, it’s PELT. Like Tribe 2, a complete unknown but much more unpredictable. They could finish dead last or they could win the bloody thing.
1 – Tribe 1
2 – Uproar
3 – Rebel 2
4 – XVI 2
5 – Ballincolig 2
6 – Gravity 2
7 – Gravity 3
8 – PELT 3
9 – Tribe 2
*PELT 2 and XVI have previously won and both are now in Division 1