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Local sides prepare for Munster Junior Cup

FOR a number of decades the Munster Junior Cup has retained its importance within local rugby and this Sunday’s second round ties are sure to provide plenty of interest and excitement.
It was a quiet week-end for the junior code with just one game of local interest played on Wednesday. That was the Gleeson League meeting of UL Bohemian and St Mary’s with the blues coming out on top by a sizeable margin. Richie Wallace scored a brace of tries while also in the tries scored column were Aaron Noonan, Dave O’Leary and Sean Markham who was making his return after a lengthy injury to his shoulder. Sean Wyse kicked the rest of the points.
Just returned from Australia, Barry Duggan is also expected to be back in the St Mary’s colours this week-end as will second-row Rory O’Donnell while the return of Paudie McMahon has certainly strengthened the first team.
It is still unclear if St Mary’s will feature in this season’s play-offs of the Gleeson League. Six points were deducted from their tally after they played an illegal player in a recent fixture but it is understood that they have appealed this decision to the Branch.
There are nine fixtures involving local clubs listed for Sunday next. All have a 2.00 kick-off.
Pick of the city list will be the meeting of St Mary’s and Old Crescent in Grove Island. The Saints, who are eighth in division one of the Junior League, will be slight favourites but you can never be sure what Crescent will bring to the table in this competition. This is one of five games played in the city area with the meeting of UL Bohemian and St Senan’s also a tie that is difficult to predict. Senan’s have been having one of their best seasons for some time and are currently third in the MJL1 league. They are the only side so far to beat league leaders and favourites for the title Clonmel and will run Bohs close in Annacotty.
Richmond make the journey into the Kingdom for a meeting with Killarney who just one rung from the bottom of MJL2. Results for Richmond’s senior team have been disappointing in AIL 2B league and it would be a boost if they could advance in this cup competition.
Shannon entertain another Kerry side, Killorglin, who are in fifth position in MJL3, and a win for the Parish boys looks likely here while in Rathuard, Presentation will face a stiff test when they take on Tralee. The Kerry team are in 13th position in division one of the junior league but it will not be surprising if they advance with a win over Pres.
The Bruff v Garryowen clash in Kilballyowen promises to be another exciting battle. Garryowen won the cup in 2013 and in 2007 and after the disappointment of losing two senior cup finals, both to Cork Constitution, over the last two seasons, a junior cup success would be warmly welcomed in Dooradoyle.
Young Munster were last crowned champions in 1999 when they were captained by John McCarthy. They make the trip to Tipp to meet a Galbally side that is in tenth position in their league. The black and ambers will be fancied here but it will be close.
Thomond are at home to Abbeyfeale, who are going well in division two of the MJL and in seventh place. The city side are traditional cup specialists and should advance to the next round. I would go a bit further if they do, and tip them to go very close to winning this competition.
It has been a terrific season for Newcastle who are second in MJL1. They will host Nenagh Ormond and if they can continue their good form, we could well have another local side in the next round of this historic competition that goes back to 1909.
Last Friday night in Dooradoyle, Garryowen 3rds beat Old Crescent 3rds 33-10 in a friendly fixture. Hugh Mulcahy and Brian Clancy scored tries for Crescent while Garryowen had tries from Niall Keogh, Dave Leonard, Mark Carroll, Andrew Flavin and Coan O’Callaghan. Dave Madden chipped in with four conversions.

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