Clonmel and Bandon set for intriguing cup battle

With all the focus being on the Aviva with a potential Grand Slam decider on Sunday, it will be a relatively quiet weekend on the Junior rugby front.

However, there are a couple of games taking place tomorrow, including one of the most interesting Junior Cup matches in the early rounds.

Leaders in the top two Divisions; Clonmel and Bandon will battle it out at the Tipperary venue. Both clubs were unable to claim their respective league titles last weekend, with Clonmel’s match being postponed due to the weather, while Bandon were upset by second placed Clanwilliam at home. The two teams are still strongly placed to win their leagues and have each claimed their respective divisional cup competitions.

Undoubtedly, Clonmel will start as firm favourites but coach Denis Leamy may need to look at utilising his squad depth. Last week’s cancellation could add to their potential fixture congestion as they are likely to be involved in the Ulster Bank League round-robin. A good run in the cup is likely to add to their congestion, but they won’t want to relinquish their crown easily.

With promotion already guaranteed and the league likely to be won too, Bandon will relish facing the top junior team in the province. Yet ultimately Clonmel’s forward power should prove too much for Bandon, who will be looking to release their strong and fast back-line as much as they can.

There is one other game in the Munster Junior Cup which again pits a second division side against a team from the top tier, as Mallow host Old Christians. Mallow had a good run in the junior shield and while they weren’t able to get back to the top flight, they look set to have a strong finish. They love to cause an upset and will be fired up for their derby.

The Rathcooney club haven’t had the best season to date but a good cup run could still turn it into a relatively successful season. If they can match Mallow up front, they may have the skill to win out.

There is one game taking place in Division One as Clonakilty host Waterpark. The home side have struggled since the New Year. A win for Waterpark should guarantee their place in the top flight for the next year and on recent form, the Waterford side could well emerge with the points.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox