Such is the interest in the Ulster Bank League derby between Dolphin and Cork Constitution tonight, the IRFU are streaming the game live for the first time.
The Musgrave Park joust is just one of four games key games tonight, as six other clubs go head-to-head in round five, and all results will have a huge bearing on the league.
Leaders UCD, for instance, face what will undoubtedly be a hugely tricky assignment at third-placed Clontarf, and if they win, it will be another massive statement of intent.
St Mary’s College entertain Old Belvedere at Templeville Road.
In Limerick, there is another local derby that should draw the crowds to Dooradoyle, as Garryowen host their old rivals Young Munster.
Garryowen are propping up the table, without a win from four games, but will need no motivation for this one. Despite losing to Cork Constitution in their last outing, Garryowen’s display showed signs of improvement. Young Munster, for their part, were unlucky to lose at the death to Old Belvedere.
The interest in the Musgrave Park clash should be considerable with Dolphin trying to knock Con out of second and climb into the top four. Dolphin are four places adrift but only five points — a bonus point win — away from their Cork rivals.
Constitution head coach Tom Mulcahy is well aware of the threat to his side’s unbeaten record. “Dolphin could have anything up to 10 of the Munster A team, we don’t know who they will have available. Their team seems to be changing from week to week which is probably disruptive but they’re a very good side, they have a lot of professional players and that’s going to make it tough for us,” he said.
However, Mulcahy is pleased with the season to date, the working relationship with fellow coaches Mick O’Driscoll and Terry Dillon and the team performance.
“I’m extremely happy with having 15 points from our four games, because we were pitted against the winners of Division 1B in the first game away and the runaway winners of Division 1A in round two. That’s a barrel of a gun to be looking down and to come out of them with nine points left me thrilled.
“We had a bit of a stumble then, in monsoon conditions, against Old Belvedere, horrific conditions altogether . Last week we came out a bit complacent and probably expected the wind to do the work for us in the first half. We ended up only 6-5 ahead at half-time and it turned into a struggle in the second half. However, we came back from being nine points down to win the game and that was pleasing for sure. That showed great character.”
Mulcahy had eight seasons with Midleton, whom he helped from junior rugby to senior and into the second division, a couple of years with Munster youths and seven seasons with Rockwell. Yet he admits coaching Con is the biggest appointment of his career.
He is particularly happy to work with O’Driscoll and Dillon, saying: “It has been fantastic, from day one. The first person I met after starting was Kenny Murphy and I can’t really believe that an ex-international player does the club background work that Kenny does, he’s absolutely incredible.
“Myself, Micko and Terry Dillon sat down early on and laid down a few ground rules as to how we wanted to approach the job and the season; it’s one thing having good playersbut it’s a huge bonus to have good coaches around you.
“Micko has had 15 years as a professional rugby player and comes at it from a completely different angle. He’s absolutely meticulous in what he does, he’s a joy to watch, just looking at his first lineout session I was blown away at how clinical he was in his approach.
“Terry is extremely well in with the backs and has a great relationship with all of the lads because he would have coached them at under 20 and 21 level for the last few years. All of us therefore are basically coming from different angles; in my case I would have known most of these players from the schools scene playing for Pres, Christians, Castletroy and others; now there are some Rockwell lads there too.
“We are getting on well and haven’t had a loss together although it might shake things up if we do. As it stands, things are going according to plan.”
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