Galbally aiming to upset Cashel in cup semi-final showdown

IT’S a big weekend of Munster Junior Cup semi-final action with cup specialists Cork Constitution taking on Kilfeacle at Musgrave Park while Division Two League winners Galbally collide with Junior League winners and Tipperary rivals Cashel at Clanwilliam Park.

The clash in Tipperary should be a very interesting affair as both sides are unbeaten thus far in provincial League and Cup competitions.

Cashel have been the standout team of the season and are deserving of all the plaudits coming their way. They will be strong favourites to make it to their first ever Junior Cup final.

It is difficult to pinpoint a weakness in their armoury with their pack proving far too strong for most opposition. However, it is their pacey and skilful wingers that have caught the eye, frequently carving open defences, with Cian and Pat O’Connor running in tries for run all season long.

They face a Galbally side renowned for their strong defence but they will need another fully committed effort to stay in the game. The underdogs will relish the opportunity to cause an upset and having disposed of Skibbereen and Tralee already, their opponents’ status won’t hold any fears. They’ll need to take their chances and hope the likes of Ian Ryan and Frank Cussen can make possession count. Cashel should be too strong though.

Cork Con’s strong Cup pedigree will make them favourites in the other last four clash. It’s a busy weekend for the Temple Hill side, with an U21 Cup semi-final this evening at home to Lansdowne and their final Division 1A match in the Ulster Bank League taking place tomorrow. These games will take their toll on the playing squad for the semi-final.

Con have improved as the tournament has progressed. They overcame a hard-fought encounter against a strong Richmond side before showing their attacking potential in a high-scoring affair against Garryowen. Eoin O’Donnell and Robert Clune have been key performers, while Simon Hanbidge is a strong leader in the pack. There is plenty of exciting potential in the side but they will face a stern test against an experienced Kilfeacle team.

The Tipperary side rested some personnel last weekend against Cashel but should have a strong squad to choose from. Shane Luby has been one of the outstanding performers but Jack O’Sullivan and Ian Burns will also be capable of causing the Cork side problems.

Both semi-finals in the Munster Junior Plate are also down for decision. There is a big Kerry derby as Castleisland host Killarney. Both teams have enjoyed strong campaigns thus far, even if they weren’t involved in the final promotion shake-up. They have a healthy rivalry and will both be keen to advance to the final. They possess exciting players and it is likely to be a very tough and intense encounter. Castleisland will hope that Matt Ahern and Nessan Murphy can see them through while the likes of Adrian Hegarty and Paul O’Sullivan will be aiming to make an impression for Killarney. Castleisland won 9-6 in their League encounter and things should be just as tight this time around.

The other semi sees Bandon making the trip to Tipperary to meet Newport. There is only a point separating the teams in the League with Bandon winning the previous encounter in the opening game of the campaign. Newport have put in some strong performances recently with Tom Ryan, Bryan Collins and Darragh and Michael Ryan catching the eye. Bandon are also in good form having pulled away from the relegation zone and will hope that key personnel such as David Ahern and Scott Kingston can produce big performances.

There is one game taking place in the Junior Bowl with Kilrush hosting Waterford City and the Clare side will be hopeful of causing an upset. The visitors will be disappointed after losing out in their promotion battle but with players such as Aaron Foskin and Sean Stafford, they have plenty of dangerous players that can cause the home team problems.

There is a very interesting encounter in the Transfield Cup as Richmond host UL Bohs while Presentation would like to add to their historic season with a surprise win over Garryowen.

Tomorrow, Scariff will look to crown their promotion from Division Three with a victory at Corca Dhuibhne and complete their campaign undefeated.

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