Familiar foes in Leinster competition, Navan and Tullamore will meet in a fascinating AIB Junior Cup final clash at Dubarry Park on Saturday, with the pair each hoping to follow in the footsteps of last year’s champions Seapoint.
2007/08 AIB JUNIOR CUP FINAL: Saturday, April 12
NAVAN v TULLAMORE, Dubarry Park, 1.30pm
Referee: Simon McDowell (Ulster)
Location: Balreask Old (outskirts of Navan town on the Dublin Road)
Qualification: By finishing third in the 2006/07 Leinster League Division 1, Navan were one of four Junior clubs entered by the Leinster Branch IRFU into the 2007/08 AIB Junior Cup first round draw
AIB Junior Cup Record: 2005/06: Did not qualify
2006/07: Did not qualify
2007/08: In round one they won 27-17 away to Armagh with tries from out half Ryan Roberts, winger Niall Walsh, number 8 Sylvanus Iro and scrum half Kieran Mattson with Roberts adding two conversions a penalty goal.
At home to Clogher Valley in the quarters, they won 27-18 with Ryan Roberts scoring a try, 3 conversions and 2 penalty goals. Simon Donnelly and Karl Manning added further tries.
Won 6-0 (after extra-time) away to Crosshaven in the semi-finals with Ryan Roberts supplying a penalty and a drop goal.
Recent History: Beat Skerries in the 2007 Leinster Provincial Towns Cup final. They have played in 14 of the 82 finals winning nine of them – only County Carlow (12) and Skerries (11) have won more titles.
Got a bye in round one of the 2008 Leinster Provincial Towns Cup, won 39-5 at home to Gorey and then 27-10 at home to Tullamore in the quarters.
Scoring six tries, they beat Wicklow 39-14 in the semis at Cill Dara and are due to meet Tullow in the final at Spollanstown on Sunday, April 20.
Leinster League Division One Record/Form: Won the Leinster League in 2000/01 and qualified for the end of season interprovincial round robin series (won 24-3 at home to Lisburn, lost 25-10 away to Clonakilty and lost 3-0 at home to Connemara – finished in third place).
This season, they finished in third place in Leinster League Division One – played 11 matches, won 8, drew 1 and lost 2, collecting five bonus points for a total of 38 points. They have qualified for next season’s AIB Junior Cup.
Junior Interprovincial players: Recent Junior Interpros include winger Simon Hogan, centre Simon Donnelly, hooker John Baker and flanker Bernard Smyth
President: Michael Brecknell
Chairman: Philip Brady
Captain: Flanker Bernard Smyth
Player-Coach: Second row Brad Harris (Australia) (second season)
Foreign Players: Out-half Ryan Roberts and Kieran Mattson (New Zealand)
Sponsors: Cantec Office Solutions
Notes: Are one of two Leinster clubs to qualify for this season’s AIB Junior Cup final. Lost to Tullamore in the 2006/07 season but have beaten them twice already this season (16-9 in the Leinster League and 27-10 in the Provincial Towns Cup).
Location: Spollanstown (outskirts of Tullamore town)
Qualification: By finishing fourth in the 2006/07 Leinster League Division One, Tullamore were one of four Junior clubs entered by the Leinster Branch IRFU into the 2007/08 AIB Junior Cup first round draw.
AIB Junior Cup Record: 2005/06: Did not qualify
2006/07: Lost 25-23 at home to Coleraine in the first round
2007/08: In round one they won 37-3 at home to Monivea. Scored six tries through centre Ivor Scully, second row Ivor Deverell, winger Paul O’Grady, full-back Dermot Galvin, winger Rory Deverell and replacement Eoghan Clavin. Out-half Gearoid O’Grady added 2 conversions and a penalty goal.
They won 20-16 at home to the holders Seapoint in the quarters – Richie Hughes and Rory Deverell bagged the tries while Gearoid O’Grady kicked 2 conversions and 2 penalty goals.
In the semi-finals they won 13-5 at home to Clonmel. Donal Milne (try), Rory Deverell (try) and Gearoid O’Grady (penalty goal) supplied the points.
Recent History: Have never won the Leinster League. They beat Wicklow in the Provincial Towns Cup final the season before last to win the trophy for the fourth time in five finals (their first win was back in 1946).
They lost away to Skerries last season. They managed to win 66-19 away to Clondalkin in round one of this season’s Leinster Provincial Towns Cup, followed by a 29-6 home victory over Skerries in round two. Lost 27-10 away to Navan in the quarter-finals.
Leinster League Division One Record/Form: This season they played 11, won 6, drew 1 and lost 1. They collected three bonus points, ending up with a total of 29 points to finish fourth in this season’s Leinster League Division One. They have qualified for next season’s AIB Junior Cup.
Junior Interprovincial players: In recent seasons, centre Dave Clavin, scrum half Richie Hughes, hooker Paul Deering, second row David Hanlon and flankers Colin Finnerty and Ivor Scully have been capped by Leinster at junior level
President: Damien Mealiffe, a former prop and club captain
Captain: Second row/back row Nigel Ravenhill
Coach: Kevin Lewis, a former Leinster Juniors coach who is now in his sixth season coaching at the club
Foreign Player(s): Centre Jon Peters (New Zealand)
Sponsors: Flanagan Group and Tullamore Court Hotel
Notes: Are one of two Leinster clubs to qualify for this season’s AIB Junior Cup final. Have four sets of brothers in their first team squad. Have previously won two All-Ireland titles at Under-16 level
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Navan to win by less than 7 points
– Competition and squad statistics supplied by Des Daly