There is little getting away from the fact that Merrion are going to be tough to beat in 2017. Their squad is settled, with much the same as last…

I'm sure that for the 232 players who competed in Division 3 last season, and perhaps for a few diehard supporters as well, the 2016 title race went down as a classic.

From the outside, Division 6 looks like a league that no one wants to be in. 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams residing here should really be playing at a higher level if a club has aspirations to improve. Seven teams fall into that category, with the only one who wants to be here (and in fairness has no choice!) is Merrion 5. Of the other seven, only two will have the opportunity of promotion to the promised land of Division 5, and for two teams, there will be the nightmare of dropping eveb further down the ladder.

But to be perfectly honest. we could have also said that they we wanted to have a look at Division 5 because it is so darn interesting. Division 5 this year has everything - nine teams, who all could realistically say that they have a chance of winning; a few up and coming teams who could surprise a few; a couple of established teams experiencing slight decline; and a couple of champion teams who are there to be shot down.

Ringcommons 1 and Clondalkin 1 ran away with Division 11 in 2016, but this year's episode looks a much closer affair. Sxx of the teams were in Division 11 last year, with newcomers Ashbourne 1 and North Kildare 3 joining Clontarf 5, Rush 3, The Hills 3, Lucan 1, Terenure 3 and Merrion 6. Where Ashbourne and North Kildare fit into the general scheme of things will be crucial in how things pan out come the autumn.

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