Junior Rugby Focus: Cobh Pirates and Waterpark in big battles to avoid the dreaded drop

Relegation battles are the chief talking points of this weekend’s Munster Junior League fixture list.

In Division One either Cobh Pirates or Waterpark will be joining Kinsale and Tralee in going through the trapdoor.

The Waterford outfit hold a four point advantage over their Cork counterparts and as they defeated Cobh this season they can avoid finishing in the bottom three with just a losing bonus point.

On Sunday, Waterpark enjoy home advantage against Skibbereen, and are expected to seal their top flight status with a win.

At the other end of the table the battle for fourth spot rages on with clubs bidding to secure an All-Ireland Cup spot next season.

Muskerry currently hold that position, a point ahead of Kilfeacle and three ahead of St Mary’s. The Limerick side will probably have to aim for a bonus point victory against Clonakilty who could finish in the top four also if the sides above them were to lose.

Kilfeacle will aim to put the pressure on Muskerry with a win against already relegated Tralee. Muskerry have the toughest game of the sides in contention as they travel to Shannon to face St Senan’s. The Clare side had an outstanding season and will be eager to end their campaign on a high at home. Muskerry will look to put in a big performance but they may come up agonisingly short.

Newcastle West should end another solid campaign with a home win to secure second. The final game of the weekend in this Division will see newly crowned League champions Clonmel in celebratory mood as they travel to Old Christians. With a tough set of Junior Cup and round robin fixtures coming up, Clonmel may well choose to rest players which could give the hosts a chance at an upset.

In Division Two, Crosshaven and Killarney occupy the bottom two spots and are relegated. In a quirk of the fixture list, they take on the two promoted sides and it is unlikely Bandon will slip up against Killarney where a win will guarantee them the League title.

Despite being set to finish the season undefeated, Clanwilliam may have to settle for the second promotion spot. In the battle to avoid finishing third bottom, Newport hold a four-point advantage over Youghal.

They appear to have the easier of the fixtures with a home-tie against Presentation where Newport’s greater need should see them win. Tonight, Youghal face a tough trip to Thurles, who will want to bounce back from their loss to Mallow.

Mallow will look to have third-spot secured by Saturday night, but will face a very tough trip to Castleisland who could leapfrog the North Cork team with a win.

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