CIYMS, the Robinson Services Premier League champions, will begin their defence at Muckamore when the NCU season gets under way on April 27.

It promises to be a testing start for the Moylena club, who have announced Bobby Rao, the former Ireland international as their new coach, because their first away game of the season, on May 4 is against Irish Cup holders and last yearís league runners-up Waringstown.

The first meeting between last yearís top two is due to take place at Belmont on June 29 with the return at The Lawn scheduled for August 17, the penultimate Saturday of the season.

Lisburnís first match back in the top flight, after just a one-year absence, will be away to Instonians before they welcome the champions to Wallace Park the following week.

Only four rounds of fixtures will be played before the second half of June because of Irish Cup and Challenge Cup dates and a weekend of Twenty20 Cup fixtures.

The Gallagher Challenge Cup final will be hosted again by North Down on Friday August 2, a week later than usual to avoid a clash with the Lordís Test.