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Shortened All Ireland League season to begin in January

The IRFU has confirmed that the new Energia All Ireland League season will begin on January 9th. 

Each team will play nine games, and there’ll be a semi-final and final series to determine the winners.

AIL clubs will compete in a new Energia Community Series run across newly formed localised conferences between September and December of 2020

Due to the truncated nature of the All Ireland League season, there will be no promotion or relegation.

"While there are many factors which helped shape this season outline," IRFU Rugby Committee Chair Greg Barrett said, "You will see that player welfare and COVID-19 risk mitigation are by far the biggest consideration.

“We are also hopeful that a focus on keeping rugby at a localised level in the first stage of the season brings with it an opportunity for clubs to re-energise their membership."

The IRFU have also confirmed that all four provincial academies can resume training on July 20.

Academy players will complete an eight week pre-season before joining senior squad members to compete in a series of A fixtures in late September and early October.

There will also be three interprovincial 7s tournaments during this period which will see academy selections compete with the Ireland 7s squad.

"As with our senior players it is important that we provide our contracted academy players with a safe and contained environment in which to re-condition after the shutdown and to prepare for a return to competitive rugby in September," IRFU Head of Elite Player Development Peter Smyth said.

"The Celtic Cup which has provided a valuable development platform for academy players in recent years has been put on hold for this year due to COVID-19.

"We have worked closely with Colin McEntee and his team to understand the opportunity for academy players in the Energia AIL this season and how that is facilitated for academy players in the provincial and national club competitions."

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AIL Energia All-Ireland League IRFU