Clonmel face tough opener

Munster Junior powerhouse Clonmel turn their attentions to the All-Ireland Provincial League Championship this weekend.

Denied a play-off, despite finishing second in last year’s round robin campaign, the Tipperary giants hope to secure a winning start at home to Enniscorthy tomorrow.

The visitors start favourites having claimed the All-Ireland Junior Cup. Neville Melbourne will be a key figure for Clonmel while the kicking and general play of Conor Cooney will be crucial.

The other opening match in the qualifying round robin sees former senior clubs Bangor and Westport face off, with the Ulster side expecting to win on their home patch.

Clanwilliam hosts the Munster Junior Clubs Cup final between Richmond and Galbally on Sunday with Richmond hoping their powerful pack, containing Pat Humphries, can create space for a dangerous backline that has shone all season.

But Galbally also boast an impressive pack led by Brendan Childs and Mark Johnston while Sean Bourke has been in super form for the Limerick side. Richmond were victorious earlier in the season but Galbally have enjoyed a great run and could cause an upset.

There are also two enticing quarter-finals in the Junior Plate. Ballincollig host a Waterpark side whose main focus will be on their upcoming relegation showdown with St Mary’s. Nevertheless, the Division One side will be eager for a confidence boost against a Ballincollig side who have a potent back-line.

The other quarter-final is an intriguing all Cork affair as Muskerry host Mallow. The Mid-Cork side was involved in a thrilling high-scoring League game last time out, gaining two bonus points in a loss to St Senan’s. Mallow had a strong second-half to their campaign to secure their place in Division Two and will fancy testing themselves.

After overcoming Sunday’s Well, Fermoy await the winners of Presentation and Bruff in the other Junior Bowl semi-final.

In the Cork County Cup, Cobh Pirates are favourites despite being away to Old Christians. Cobh will be eager to gain silverware while the Rathcooney club’s focus will be on their final League match with Richmond next week.

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