For all the oohs and aahs that surrounded some divisions in 2012, Division 3 was the one league that kept followers not so much on the edge of their seats, as in a perpetual mid air state somewhere beteen falling off the seat, and hitting the ground. Balbriggan spent most of the final day in a desperate battle to avoid relegation, before emerging as Division 3 champions. It was that sort of season. In many ways, not much has changed. Balbriggan 1, Merrion 2 and Civil Service 1 have been replaced by Laois 1, Malahide 2 and Cork County 1. and the eventual performance of these three teams will be crucial in the outcome of the division.
Division 4 is where the cricket gets (even more) serious. Teams need laptops and scorers. They need coloured clothing to play in the RSA National Cup. And the regulations are designed to mimic ODI's, so power plays, fiedling restrictions and Duckworth Lewis. There is also a delicious mix of teams, with some thrusting ambitious first teams, some second teams from clubs who's second teams should be doing a bit better, and a couple of third teams who must punch above their weight to even get to this level.
Division 5 contains the remnants of the old Senior 3, and to this day is comprosed mainly of third teams. The very strongest third teams (Clontarf and Pembroke this year), play in Division 4, but the next level all play in Division 5, with six such teams doing it this year. It always makes for a tight league, so we'll try and pick through the noise, and come up with a Nate Silver-ish type prediction
Hopefully none of the clubs in Division 6 will take offence, but whereas some divisions have looked like having all the teams capable of topping the table, Division 6 is the opposite. Let me explain.
Dublin University 2 may have the best chance of moving up. Although it is even harder trying to predict how a university side will perform from year to year, one thing in paricular is in Trinity's favour. The OCC have removed the "handicap" that balanced Dublin University sides only playing half a season, meaning that their sides have recieved a definite shot in the arm. With the players onbly having to make themselves availability eight times, and their points now getting equal weighting with the opposition, there may be no better time of a Trinity promotion.