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Club of the Year Richmond target sixth Junior Cup final spot

(Pictured, Natalie McNamara, Richmond RFC media officer)
By Aidan Corr
NAMED Munster Junior Rugby Club of the Year this week, Richmond RFC are enjoying one of their best seasons for some time. This Sunday (kick-off 1pm) they take on Kilfeacle and District on their home patch, Richmond Park, in the semi-final of the Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup with the prize for the winners, a meeting with Cork Constitution in Irish Independent Park in the final.
The Canal Bank side have now reached the semi-final of this competition three times over the past six seasons but they have yet to lift the trophy since their last victory in 1952. They first won it in 1936 and again in 1943. Their last two semi-final defeats were at the hands of Cork Constitution in 2016 and against Garryowen in 2013.
According to Richmond RFC’s most efficient media officer, Natalie McNamara, the club also lost two finals, in 1979 to UCC and to Thomond in 1990.
The early kick-off on Sunday, due to the Champions Cup semi-final in Bordeaux, is sure to boost the attendance and Richmond Park will be buzzing for this mouth-watering encounter.
Kilfeacle and District will certainly be up for the challenge. They dismissed Shannon and Newcastle West in successive weeks and their performance against the latter last Sunday indicates that they have the players to test the green and whites. Kilfeacle have a well-drilled pack, use the lineout maul to good effect and Richmond will have to be at their very best is they are to reach the final.
Last Sunday’s 71-5 victory over Shannon in the Transfield Cup provided a good warm-up for Richmond, running in ten tries. They have been impressive since the turn of the year and with former Shannon out-half Tadhg Bennett pulling the strings at ten, they have looked impressive in recent outings.
This is going to be a very tight game, with little between the sides, but with home advantage and the boost of the Munster Club award beckoning at the end of the month, the Canal Bank boys might just shade it.
Old Crescent, direct from their outstanding AIL season, will send their seconds to Cork on Sunday (kick-off 1pm) for the semi-final of the Munster Senior Seconds League. It is never easy play Con in Temple Hill but such is the wealth of talent in the Old Crescent stable at the moment, they will give a good account of themselves.
Outplayed up front for much of the game, Newcastle West fell at the quarter final hurdle of the Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup last Sunday. In the Transfield Cup, Richmond got the perfect work-out, putting up 71 points in their meeting with a weakened Shannon. The Canal Bank side will now meet Newcastle West in the final. The Webb Cup fixture between Old Crescent and St Mary’s did not take place despite the stringent efforts of the ‘Saints’ to play the game on Friday or Saturday. It is now provisionally re-fixed for Rosbrien next Saturday with a 2.30pm kick-off.
Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup, quarter final:
Kilfeacle and District 27, Newcastle West 7
THE County Limerick disappointed in this cup quarter final on Sunday at the Tipperary venue and it is Kilfeacle who will take on Richmond next week-end in the semi-final. The home side got an early grip on the game but Newcastle West were still in with a shout at the break despite trailing 8-0. The second half told a different story with Kilfeacle 20 points to the good before Sean Herlihy got in for a Newcastle try that he also converted..
Just as they did against Shannon the previous week, Kilfeacle used their power at the maul, putting 13 players into the drive once it was set up, and that produced two crucial tries. Number eight Kevin Kinnane had an outstanding game for Kilfeacle, the former Garryowen under 20 player running 60 metres for a touchdown after taking a clean catch at a lineout and also on the winners’ scoring list were Jack McLoughlin, James Hogan and Stephen Quirke. James Heuston took the kicking duties landing two conversions and a penalty.
Richmond will, no doubt, take heed of this 13-man maul ploy for this week-end.
Transfield Cup:
Richmond 71, Shannon 3
Maybe the celebrations the previous day when their senior team clinched the AIL 1B title was a factor, but Shannon fielded well below strength for this game. Richmond dominated throughout and they qualified with ease to meet Newcastle West in the decider of this historic junior trophy.
The busy scoreboard operator inform us that the Richmond scores came from tries by Keelan Stephenson, two from Kieran Bennett and two from Gareth O’Hanlon and one each from Stephen Collins, Jack O’Hanlon, Brian Mullins, Corey Wells and Tadhg Bennett. From the kicking tee Brian Mullins kicked five conversions and there was one conversion each from Jack O’Hanlon, Corey Wells and Sean Considine. Shannon’s only replay came from a Luke Moylan drop goal.
Fixtures, kick-off 2.30pm unless otherwise stated: Wednesday, April 18, Munster Junior Clubs Shield Final, Ballincollig v Clonakilty, Irish Independent Park, 7.30; Friday, April 20, Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Plate semi-final, Fermoy v Old Christians, Fermoy, 7.30pm; Sunday, Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup semi-final, Richmond v Kilfeacle, Richmond Park, 1pm; Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Plate, Ennis v Fethard, Ennis, 1pm; Senior Seconds League semi-final, Cork Constitution v Old Crescent, Temple Hill.

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