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Richmond and ‘Saints’ are chasing junior league successes

By Aidan Corr
THE first week of February sees us enter a crucial period of this season’s Munster Junior leagues. Two city sides, Thomond and St Mary’s are nicely placed and this coming Sunday’s fixtures could be very important for them at the end of the campaign.
In MJL1 Richmond are top of the table going to Jim Slattery Park in Shannon Town where victory over St Senan’s is their priority. The home side are currently fifth from the bottom of the table but clear of an immediate relegation threat. Richmond have their sights set on this title, their squad has performed well in recent months but they need to continue their winning run in this competition if they are to hold onto their lofty perch.
It is fifth versus seventh in Abbeyfeale when Clonmel visit the West Limerick venue. Since their promotion two seasons ago, Feale have been impressive in division one, more than holding their own, but they will be pushed hard by a Clonmel side that has a top four place in their sights. Meetings between Newcastle West and Kilfeacle always provide good entertainment and the home side will see this as an opportunity
to get some consolation for the defeat to their neighbours in the
All-Ireland Junior Cup semi-final. Now under the coaching of
All-Ireland League medal winner with Young Munster, Declan Edwards, Newcastle West have been in good form and this derby game should draw a big attendance.
The other game next Sunday in this division involving a local club sees Galbally travel to play Waterpark. With just one league victory so far this season, the county team have struggled. They need now to put another win behind them and build on that lone victory if they are to avoid the drop. Waterpark sit comfortably in mid-table. They are a decent side and difficult to beat on their own turf, so Galbally will have to be at their best to come away with some badly needed points.
In the second division of the Munster Junior League St Mary’s are in third position in the table and they travel to play Waterford City who are six places behind them. On paper the Saints would be expected to get the required victory but they have been unpredictable, particularly away from home, during this campaign. Last season St Mary’s missed out on promotion by a very narrow margin and games, like this one on Sunday, need to reap reward. Word from their camp is that they continue to be plagued by injuries so much will depend on the
strength of the squad that makes the trip east for this important
fixture.
Despite the inclement conditions, almost all of the Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup games were played on Sunday with no significant upsets. Through to the next round are Shannon, Richmond, Young Munster, Garryowen and Newcastle West. Here are the details.
Shannon 36, Old Crescent 26: Crescent put up a good resistance against
their more favoured opponents in this derby game but it was the Parish
side that proved strongest over the full 80 minutes. Scorers for
Shannon were Marcus McMenamie two tries and one each by Kieran Dunne,
Jordan Fitzpatrick, Jerry McCabe and Colm Heffernan. Richie Mullane
was accurate from three of the conversion attempts.
Garryowen 22, St Mary’s 6: The Saints are not going to mark the 50th
anniversary of their only junior cup success in 1968 this season but
they showed great passion and determination against the light blues.
It was 3-3 early in the second half with the St Mary’s pack finding
great success at scrum time. Their lineout was not as successful as
they lacked a jumper option and that was a crucial feature of this
game. Paul Loughran kicked the two penalties for St Mary’s, who turned
down another chance of three points with 20 minutes remaining, after
making an unsuccessful decision to go for the seven pointer. Garryowen
scored a brace of tries within a few minutes of the half time whistle,
turning a 3-3 margin to 17-3 in their favour and they added another
try in the second period.
Garryowen’s scores came from tries by Johnny Keane, Robert Meyer and
Sam Gleeson while Lorcan Bourke kicked two conversions and a penalty.
Abbeyfeale 13, Bandon 18: The Cork side are going well in division one
of the league and they advanced after an exciting game at the Limerick
venue. Liam O’Connor scored a first half try for Abbeyfeale with Tom
Hassett kicking the conversion as well as two penalties. This was a
good performance by Abbeyfeale but they face another big game next
week-end when they entertain Clonmel in the league.
Clanwilliam 12, Richmond 36: The Limerick side had most of the hard
work completed at half time in this cup game and led comfortably by
29-0. Ricmond’s good form of recent weeks has not gone unnoticed and
they advance to a home game in the next round against Waterpark on
February 18th.
Tadhg Bennett is back to his best form and he contributed 11 points
made up of four conversions and a penalty while the fives tries were
credited to Keelan Stephenson, Eoin Hanley, Jeffrey McNamara, Ryan
Meagher and long-serving hooker Pat Humphreys.
Newcastle West 38, UL Bohemian 5: Dave Foley was in blistering form
for Newcastle West and he scored a hat-trick of tries in this big win
over UL Bohs. The West led 17-0 at the break thanks to Foley’s first
touchdown, a penalty try and a conversion and penalty by Sean Herlihy.
Newcastle kept up the pressure in the second half and while Conor
Gilmore got in for a try for UL Bohemian, the home side finished the
job with two tries from Dave Foley and a try by Sean Murphy. Sean
Herlihy added two conversions with one other conversion kicked by
Tommy Kelliher. Newcastle West are in flying form at present and they
could yet advance further in this competition.
Youghal 10, Young Munster 23: The Cork side put up decent resistance
in this cup clash at the County Cork venue but Young Munster, who
reached for the final last season, held on for a comfortable win that
puts them into the next round. With the senior side winning in
Clontarf the previous day, it was a good week-end for Young Munster
with this victory. Their scorers were, tries by Mark O’Mara, Luke
Fitzgerald and Joe O’Connor with Adam Guerin kicking two penalties and
a conversion.
The Galbally v Killarney game did not take place.
Fixtures: Kick off 2.30pm unless otherwise stated.
Fixtures, Friday 2nd February
Munster Junior League Division 3: Fermoy v Chorca Dhuibhne, Fermoy, 8pm;
Sunday 4th February
Munster Junior League Division 1: Abbeyfeale v Clonmel, Abbeyfeale;
Clanwilliam v Bandon, Clanwilliam Park;
Newcastle West v Kilfeacle, Newcastle West;
Skibbereen v Youghal, Skibbereen;
St. Senan’s v Richmond, Jim Slattery Park;
Waterpark v Galbally, Ballinakill;
Division 2: Ballincollig v Muskerry, Tanner Park;
Kinsale v Crosshaven, Kinsale;
Mallow v Castleisland, Mallow;
Mitchelstown v Thurles, Mitchelstown;
Old Christians v Killarney, Rathcooney;
Waterford City v St. Mary’s, Waterford;
Division 3: Bantry Bay v Fethard, Bantry;
Douglas-Carrigaline v Ennis, Moneygourney;
Dungarvan v Charleville, Dungarvan;
Killorglin v Tralee, Killorglin

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