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…

Our last league preview looked at Division 5, and was full of optimism for teams who by and large had a good chance of winning the league Division 7 is similar - most of the teams have a good chance of winning the trophy. There is a difference however, that difference being that the majority of the eight teams in Division 7 look to be prime relegation material.

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.

Division 15 throws up something of a clash of the old versus the new for 2017. Ringcommons have added a second team to their all conquering first team of the last five years; Dublin 15's Tyrrelstown enter the leagues for the first time after several years in cup competitions, and Carlow 2 start their second season after a promisgin debut last time out.

The 2016 National Cup was a celebration of Leinster cricket, Laois taking on Rush to make the first all Leinster final. Rush retained their 2015 title making it the second time that Leinster clubs have completed the Irish Senior Cup and National Cup double. Merrion and Rush matches Clontarf and Malahide's feat in 2013.

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