Holders UL Bohemian are going for three in a row and are again demonstrating superb form in their league and look the team to stop.
They face a very tricky opening to their defence this season as they make the short hop across the city to take on Thomond. There was very little to choose between when the sides met at the end of November, with Bohs winning by the narrowest of margins in an entertaining encounter, while the teams drew at the start of the season. The home side will be confident they can get the right result this time but Bohs possess plenty of talent and will be eager to make a strong bid for the three in a row, last achieved by Thomond back in the early 90s.
The draw has been kinder to last year’s beaten finalists, Young Munster. They have enjoyed a steady league campaign this season and won’t be expecting too much trouble as they host a Ballincollig team who have been struggling badly in recent weeks.
One of the standout matches will be at the home of Junior League leaders Cashel, as they take on one of the other top junior clubs; Crosshaven. Both sides will probably be primarily focused on other competitions with the Cork side aiming to be the first Munster side to claim the All-Ireland Cup. Both will still be eager to win and, given recent form and home advantage, Cashel should progress.
Junior League holders Richmond will be expecting to prevail at home to Cobh Pirates although the East Cork side have a strong pedigree in this competition and should put in a strong performance.
The clash between Newcastle West and Dolphin should be an eagerly contested affair. The Limerick team will enjoy home advantage and have proved to be one of the leading lights in Division Two of the Junior Leagues. Tommy Kelleher has been a key player but their strong robust pack has laid the foundations for much of their success. The Musgrave Park team have a very talented Seconds side which has been a significant factor in the senior team’s success with plenty of competition for places. The senior experience should be of vital importance to Dolphin and may help them win out.
Kinsale will be hoping that they can avenge last weekend’s defeat in Mallow as they host the Cork club in the cup this weekend. The Kinsale defence was breached three times to help Mallow to victory but they will be hoping that they can put in a bigger effort without the ball. If they can, they possess plenty of attacking threat, with Peter Murphy and Frazer Hodgson dangerous runners.
UCC have plenty of talent in their junior ranks and will be fancying a strong campaign this year. They enjoy home advantage against Clonmel who look to be getting back to their early season form after a couple of shaky months but the students should be too dynamic for them.
Waterpark will be aiming to get back to winning ways as they host St Senan’s while St Mary’s will need to produce a big display if they are to get the better of a confident Old Christians side at Rathcooney.
Youghal who have had a major upturn in their results over the last few weeks will be looking to maintain their winnings ways. They have been handed a home draw against Third Division Abbeyfeale. The County Limerick team will require a big defensive display if they are to stay in the game, with the East Cork side having run up some big scores of late.
Galbally will fancy their chances of getting a good run in this competition. They start off their campaign with a home game against a Carrick-On-Suir team who will pose a threat but the Division Two side should carry on with their winning ways.
Douglas enjoy home advantage against Scariff but the Clare side have proved to be one of the top sides in Division Three and will have plenty of expectations of advancing further. Killarney also face a tricky trip as they head east to take on a Midleton side whose fiery pack should provide the Kerry team with plenty of problems.
Nenagh Ormond travel up to take on an Ennis side who will be brimming with confidence following their recent success over Castleisland while in the sole first round game Dungarvan will be looking to take full advantage of playing at home as they take on Kilrush.
There is a big game in the Third Division of the Munster Junior League as leaders Presentation travel to Fermoy. The North Cork side who are in third place are 12 points behind the leaders and even with a game in hand cannot afford to slip up if they are to stay in the promotion race.