Crosshaven need pack to set a platform

IT’S a relatively quiet weekend for Junior rugby in Munster but a handful of games are still taking place, with the highlight Crosshaven’s All-Ireland semi-final clash at home to Sligo on Saturday.

The Cork side have had a very strong campaign, having been spared relegation last season. While they are outside the league race by now with defeats to the two contenders, Richmond and Cashel, they look to be the best of the rest and will have their eyes on success in this competition. The draw hasn’t been kind, with two long away trips in the previous rounds, but on each occasion they have won.

They will look to their pack to set a platform: they are very strong at the breakdown and set-pieces but are also capable of taking on ball in the loose with strong runners such as Eamon Ring and Jake Grey. Michael Buckley and Merle O’Connell will be on hand to do a lot of the groundwork and give the likes of Andrew Lane and Cian McGovern plenty of space in which to utilise their pace.

They will be hoping for a big crowd and won’t underestimate the challenge from Sligo — the Connacht team are unbeaten in their League and will be keen on regaining senior status.

In the other semi-final, Monivea, the only team to defeat Cashel so far this season, make the trip north to face Cooke. The Galway team have a vast wealth of experience in All-Ireland competitions and they will need it.

There are three games in the Munster Junior Cup, one on each day of the weekend. The action commences tonight as Dungarvan head to play under lights at Fermoy; that should add extra atmosphere to this game and the north Cork side will be expecting to progress to the next round.

On Saturday Douglas host an inform Scariff team. The Cork team haven’t been setting the world on fire but they are notorious difficult opponents on their own patch. The Clare side have been in tremendous form and are well in contention for promotion from Division Three, which would be a superb achievement, but Douglas will want to maintain their winning ways.

On Sunday Ennis host Shannon. It has been a mixed season for the Clare side but they have produced a couple of big displays, especially at home. They will be aware that the Limerick side are always up for big cup competitions and while they haven’t been as strong at this grade as in previous years, they should still have plenty of talented players to call on.

In Division Two of the Munster Junior League, there are a couple of matches on Sunday: Mallow host Bandon in what should be an eagerly contested game. The hosts will be aiming to maintain their push at the top of the table but know their visitors won’t lie down. Bandon will be confident after a recent victory over Kinsale and should push Mallow all the way.

Galbally should maintain their 100% record as they make the short trip to Newport where a win will put the visitors back on top of the table.

Newport have had some good results lately which have pulled them off the bottom and even a losing bonus point would be a big boost for them.

There is one Division Three game, where Abbeyfeale should get the ~better of Kilrush. On Saturday, the Gleeson League sees Shannon take on Cashel at Bruff.

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