Clonakilty eager to enhance title credentials

It’s early days in the Munster Junior League, but one of the potential games of the season takes place on Sunday in West Cork, when pacesetters Clonmel and Clonakilty face off, both teams laying down firm markers in their opening two games.

Clon look eager to reassert their authority at this grade. They won in style on the opening day but last weekend’s hard-fought victory over Cobh Pirates is likely to be much sweeter as it was the type of match they often failed to succeed in last season. Their robust defence looks to be a big asset while JD O’Mahony and Mike Keohane add some spark in attack.

Clonmel have cruised through their opening two games, although they missed out on a bonus point in their 31-0 victory over Kilfeacle. Stephen Pike has been one of their form players with three tries. They have an excellent mix of power up front and pace and skill out wide. It should be a fiery encounter but home advantage could edge it in Clonakilty’s favour.

Newcastle West are joint top, with Clonmel and Clonakilty, on nine points and should maintain their strong start with a home win over Old Christians. Stephen Kelly will be aiming to replicate his excellent form from the Waterpark win. It will be a tough outing for the Rathcooney club but with a win under their belts, the pressure will be off, and they will relish the chance to cause an upset.

Muskerry are also aiming for three wins on the trot and will expect to get the better of winless Cobh Pirates in Ballyanly. The Mid Cork side have showed great unity of spirit and are full of confidence.

St Senan’s got their first win in Division One since promotion with an impressive four-try success against Skibbereen. They face a Waterpark side capable of running in tries and it should prove an entertaining open game in Waterford.

Kinsale face a very tough encounter at Kilfeacle. The Seasiders showed some of their attacking ability against Old Christians but will need to tighten up in defence to come away from Tipperary with anything.

While it is early days, Skibbereen will be keen to get a win under their belts but won’t find anything easy despite being at home to St Mary’s. The Limerick side bounced back last weekend showing glimpses of last year’s magic.

Galbally will be expecting to push up the table with a home win over Tralee.

Like Division One, there are three teams joint top of Division Two on nine points. Bandon will certainly be expecting to maintain their good start to the season as they host Presentations while the other two top sides face tough games on the road.

Castleisland travel to Ennis who look to be much stronger than last year. The Clare side have a robust defence but the Kerry team possess plenty of threats, with Kieran Downey being a standout performer so far.

Clanwilliam are also on the road as they take on Waterford City. While City are winless, they should provide a stiffer test for Clan than Youghal.

Thurles are a point behind the leaders. They will seek to maintain the pressure on the sides above them but can’t take anything for granted against an Abbeyfeale side boosted by a derby success over Presentation.

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