The Under-18 and 16 boys interprovincial tournaments raise the curtain on the new domestic season as Stormont hosts the annual contest for regional bragging rights.
For the Leinster Under-18s, they are hoping to win back the crown from Ulster and they go into the tournament with a squad of whom all have played for in blue before.
Indeed, there are seven of last year’s squad involved while goalkeeper Ross Clarke, Ryan Spencer and striker Evan Jennings were in the Irish side that played in Eindhoven during the summer.
Ben Whelan, Adam Galbraith, Callum Hewat, Theo Kohlmann, Craig Mackay and Ben Ryder make an instant step up from the Under-16s.
Speaking about their plans for the competition, coach John Pearson fells the side are in great shape to give the competition a good rattle.
“Summer preparation has gone very well,” he said. “With large numbers eligible for the Under-18s, we were able to give a lot of players the experience of playing competitive games for Leinster as well as working with Leinster’s strength and conditioning coach.
“We had two away games against Ulster as well as two away games against Munster. These games and working with the S&C coach was a great insight for the boys.
“The talent within this age group is amazing and picking the final 18 was very tough. Since picking the 18 man squad, we have had games against TRR, YMCA twice and Avoca as well as training twice a week. The boys, along with management team are raring to go and are excited to see what these championships bring.”
The Ulster hosts will be a tough nut to crack with plenty of players with some EYHL experience like Stewart Wylie, Kent Irwin and Patrick Rose while Eddie Rowe is a powerful corner option.
And they have been receiving expert training from David Ames, assisting his former Cookstown club mate Stephen Cuddy.
Munster’s big threats, meanwhile, is led by the powerful Kevin O’Dea while there is a trio from Newtown’s All-Ireland schools winning side – Ben McInerney, Ian Balding and Rory Treacy – while goalkeeper Iarlaith O’Neill will likely be a key man.
At Under-16 level, Leinster ended Ulster’s six-year reign as champions last autumn and will hope to make it two years in a row.
Rhys Armah-Kwantreng, Rex Dunlop and Conor Walsh are the three returnees from last year’s success with the other 15 players will look forward to winning their first caps this weekend.
Both competitions begin on Friday with Ulster facing Munster in the first series of games before the northern side come up against Leinster in their second game of the day.
It is Munster’s turn to play twice on Saturday, facing Leinster in the morning and then Ulster in the return-match in the afternoon.
Finally, Leinster play the double-header on Sunday, first against Ulster and then against Munster.
Elsewhere, the Neville Cup gets underway over the weekend with a quartet of games on the agenda. Rathgar against Wicklow is first up on Saturday.
Reigning champions Three Rock Rovers’ much-changed squad will face YMCA; Corinthian go to Dublin University while Bray take on UCD.
The levelling element in the competition is that the EYHL sides cannot use their “top 13” with only players eligible to play in the Leinster leagues being available for this cup.
Boys Interprovincial tournament fixture schedule (September 13-15; all at Stormont)
Friday: Ulster v Munster, 2.45pm; Ulster v Leinster, 7.15pm
Saturday: Munster v Leinster, 12.15pm; Munster v Ulster, 4.45pm
Sunday: Leinster v Ulster, 9am; Leinster v Munster, 1.30pm
Friday: Ulster v Munster, 12.30pm; Ulster v Leinster, 4.30pm
Saturday: Munster v Leinster, 10am; Munster v Ulster, 2.30pm
Sunday: Leinster v Ulster, 11.15am; Leinster v Munster, 3.45pm
Neville Cup, first round
Saturday: Rathgar v Wicklow, The High School, 12.30pm
Sunday: Dublin University v Corinthian, Santry Avenue, 11.30am; Bray v UCD, Templecarrig, 4pm; YMCA v Three Rock Rovers, Wesley, 4.30pm
Leinster Under-16 panel: Kameron Moran (YMCA/Wesley College), Conor Murphy (Avoca/Newpark Comprehensive), Rhys Armah-Kwantreng (Monkstown/St Andrew’s College), Charlie Beatty (Three Rock Rovers/The High School), Charlie Byrne (Monkstown/St Andrew’s College), Harry Dagg (Avoca/Temple Carrig), Rex Dunlop (Three Rock Rovers/The King’s Hospital), Jamie Forbes (Pembroke Wanderers/St Andrew’s College), Andrew Fox (YMCA/Wesley College), Josh Gill (Three Rock Rovers/Wesley College), Sam Hickmott (Monkstown/St Andrew’s College), Christopher Knatchbull (Monkstown/St Andrew’s College), Bryan Lydon (Weston/The King’s Hospital), Alex Lynch (Three Rock Rovers/The High School), Ben Pasley (Three Rock Rovers/The High School), Mark Smyth (Three Rock Rovers/Wesley College), Frederik Strantz (Corinthian/St Columba’s College), Conor Walsh (Three Rock Rovers/Wesley College)
Head Coach: Emmett Hughes
Assistant Coach: Sean Butler
Manager: Zack Waters
Leinster Under-18 panel: Ross Clarke (GK, Monkstown/Monkstown CBC), Ben Whelan (GK, Three Rock Rovers/The High School), Josh Filgas (Monkstown/St Andrew’s College), Ethan Flynn (Three Rock Rovers/The High School), Adam Galbraith (YMCA/Wesley College), Gavin Gleeson (Monkstown/St Andrew’s College), Max Guilfoyle (Monkstown/St Andrew’s College), Callum Hewat (Monkstown/St Andrew’s College), Evan Jennings (Three Rock Rovers/The High School), Theo Kohlmann (Monkstown/St Andrew’s College), Craig Mackay (Corinthian/Wesley College), James Magennis (Pembroke Wanderers/The King’s Hospital), Fionn Marriott (YMCA/Wesley College), Tom Power (YMCA/Wesley College), Ben Ryder (Three Rock Rovers/Wesley College), Ryan Spencer (Monkstown/St Andrew’s College), Adam Walker (YMCA/Wesley College), Sam Walker (Three Rock Rovers/St Andrew’s College)
Head Coach: John Pearson
Assistant Coach: Geoff Cole
Manager: Aifric O’Malley