LEAGUE WINNERS 'WEGIANS FACE BUCCS AGAIN: The Connacht Senior Cup final will be contested between arch rivals Galwegians and Buccaneers this Saturday (The Sportsground, kick-off 2.30pm).
'Wegians, coached by Paul Young, the former Newport Gwent Dragons and Wales hooker, won the sides' most recent clash - an 18-14 victory at Dubarry Park last week which saw them claim the Connacht Senior League title.
While Buccs enjoyed a clean sweep of wins over 'Wegians last season, Young's charges, helped by their workmanlike pack, have held the edge this term - Saturday's tie is the sides' third meeting in as many weeks.
Buccs are hoping that back row and captain Conor Hartigan will recover from injury in time for the weekend. Again, much will depend on whether any of the clubs' Connacht players will become available after Friday's Magners League fixture with Ulster.
For the recent league game, 'Wegians had winger Conor McPhillips and back rows John Muldoon, Brendan O'Connor and Michael Swift available, while Buccs boasted winger Ted Robinson, centre Paul Warwick, scrum half Conor O'Loughlin in their line-up.
IrishRugby.ie will have a full preview of the Connacht Senior Cup final on Friday.
BOYD: WE WILL BOUNCE BACK: Instonians have slumped to four defeats on the trot in the Ulster Senior League but the Belfast club's coach and director of rugby Clem Boyd reckons an upturn in just around the corner.
Inst started the Ulster competition in fine fettle, dismissing Rainey Old Boys, their new AIB League Division Three rivals, 50-0 at home.
But after edging past Malone 34-20, the Shaw's Bridge residents have lost to Portadown, Queen's University, Dungannon and Ards over successive weekends.
With a trip to high-flying Ballymena to come this Saturday, Inst, who are fifth from bottom in the Ulster League table, will aim for a quick turnaround in fortunes before their All-Ireland opener against Bruff on October 14.
Boyd said: "We are not taking our chances at the moment and missed tackles are costing us dearly. It (The Ards game) was a game we should have won and we could have won our last three matches.
"We are trying to play a different style of rugby and we'll bounce back although our results are poor. We're getting our injured players back at the right time and the new players and Under-20s are gelling together," he told the Belfast Telegraph.
Boyd is being assisted by former Ireland out-half Niall Malone this season.
...Cork Constitution, last season's AIB Cup champions, have qualified for this year's competition and the ODM Munster Senior Cup quarter-final...
AIB CUP QUALIFIERS CONFIRMED IN MUNSTER: With the conclusion of the second round of the ODM Munster Senior Cup, Shannon, Cork Constitution, Clonakilty, Garryowen and Nenagh Ormond have been confirmed as Munster's five qualifiers for the 2006/07 AIB Cup.
Tries from Andrew Finn, Frankie McNamara, Andrew Thompson, who was earlier sin-binned, and Gary McNamara saw Senior Cup holders Shannon to a 35-6 victory over Young Munster last Saturday. Thompson also kicked three conversions and two penalties at Thomond Park.
Cork Con, last year's winners of the inaugural AIB Cup, beat Highfield 29-8 at Temple Hill to advance - they will meet fellow heavyweights Shannon in a mouth-watering Senior Cup quarter-final on Sunday, November 12.
Tom Ryan, Cronan Healy, Daniel Nethery and Conor Quaid bagged the touchdowns for Con, with Nethery adding three conversions and a penalty.
Conor Kilroy kicked three penalties and converted Ed Mackey's try as Garryowen got the better of Thomond, winning 16-6 at Fitzgerald Park, while Clonakilty, thanks to tries from Noel O'Sullivan, Colm McCarthy and Derek Dillon, notched a 26-3 home win over Old Crescent, and Nenagh Ormond got the better of their Division Three cohorts Bruff, with Fergus Austin's contribution of 12 points - two tries and a conversion, crucial in the 17-10 success.
ODM MUNSTER SENIOR CUP DRAW:
QUARTER-FINAL - Shannon v Cork Constitution (Sunday, November 12)
SEMI-FINALS - Shannon v Clonakilty, Nenagh Ormond v Garryowen (Saturday, November 18)
COOLMINE READY TO WELCOME THE WARATAHS: The New South Wales Waratahs will provide opposition to Leinster's 'A' team when Coolmine RFC's new clubhouse and facilities are open this Sunday.
The west Dublin junior club will have their new clubhouse, which was completed earlier this year, officially opened by IRFU President Peter Boyle between 2.30pm and 3pm.
The clash between Leinster 'A' and the Waratahs' 'A' side, who are currently on a Development tour to the UK and Ireland, will kick-off at Ashbrook at 4pm. There will also be a mini rugby blitz (starting at 9.30am) and a President's XV match on the day. Barbecue food will be available in an outdoor marquee.
Coolmine RFC President Shane Delaney said: "The launch represents the culmination of two years work by the members, and we're now realising our ambitious plans to create one of the best rugby facilities in Leinster."
NO SUCH THING AS A NEUTRAL PA ANNOUNCER!: Tommy Creamer, who was the PA announcer at Thomond Park for 28 years before his retirement in 2004, was not always as unbiased as fans might have thought.
He said: "I always tried my damn best to stay neutral, but occasionally in a Shannon club match I slipped! (A few years ago) Shannon were playing Greystones. The next thing was Shannon got a penalty goal and kicked it.
"They were strolling back to the halfway line and I'm looking down and all of a sudden Greystones take a quick restart and they're flying up the field, and I turn around and said to all the Shannon players: 'Watch your backs!'
"So with the result that they stifled the movement but I had to apologise to the Greystones people afterwards!"