Traditionally, Pres are one of the most fancied teams in the famous old competition and that is very much the case on this occasion.
They have looked a formidable outfit through the early months of the season and with several members of last year’s triumphant side available once again, won’t lack for experience.
Back again is hooker Billy Scannell, a brother of Munster seniors Niall and Rory, who along with teammates Sam Arnold and Ronan O’Mahony helped with making the draw last evening in Thomond Park.
“Pres” last season ended a seven-year drought without the coveted title when they defeated surprise packets Glenstal in the final at Thomond Park by 11-3, all their points coming from centre Sean French. As always, they will be among the favourites this time round as they go in search of a 30th title that would move them one ahead of Cork rivals CBC in the honours list. The first round games are scheduled to take place on the week beginning January 15, 2018.
Christians came out of the hat first and will meet Limerick side Ardscoil Ris while Bandon Grammar, who made a serious impression last year, have been drawn at home to St Munchins.
The final game in the qualifying round between Colaiste Pobail, Bheanntrai and St Clements, Limerick, won’t take place until next week with the winners up against a highly-rated Crescent Comprehensive side boasting a particularly dangerous back division.
The last of the first round matches sees last year’s runners-up Glenstal up against Rockwell, who are regarded as dark horses and sure to benefit from the return as coach of former international star Denis Leamy and his brother Kevin.
The draw for the Junior Cup is very much the same as for the senior version with holders CBC again one of the best equipped looking squads. They have met Crescent Comprehensive in each of the last three finals, taking the lead in that particular “rubber” last March with a replay victory at Musgrave Park.
Crescentwere leading until the dying minutes when Ronan O’Sullivan scored a try for Christians that George Coomber converted.
That was Christians 18th Junior Cup that still leaves them trailing PBC, 29.