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AIB Junior Cup: Round 1 Review

AIB Junior Cup: Round 1 Review

Defending champions Tullamore cleared the first hurdle in this season’s AIB Junior Cup, battling their way to a 27-24 opening round win over Coleraine on Saturday. 2007 winners Seapoint were beaten at home by City of Derry, while Boyne and Monivea both posted big scores at home.

On their first ever trip to Shamrock Lodge, Tipperary side Kilfeacle & District were outclassed as Boyne ran out 59-12 winners in the first round of the AIB Junior Cup.

Craig McGrath’s men showed no mercy, moving into the lead in the second minute when full-back Niall Kerbey finished off a flowing move. Kerbey missed the conversion but soon added a penalty from 30 metres out.

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The Boyne backs, with cup debutant Shane Campbell impressing at scrum half, tore through the visitors’ defence time and again and the hosts were 25-0 up in as many minutes.

Winger Brian Howell thrived as Boyne ran and passed their way through the Tipp men, and he had a hand in three of the opening tries.

Boyne were 32-0 ahead at half-time and two further tries from debutant Neil Gernan, who came on for Kerbey, helped them hit the half century. But credit to Kilfeacle, they saved some pride by scoring two tries in the final ten minutes.

Munster Junior League outfit Cashel came from behind to beat Tuam 15-7 at home, with Colin Morrissey and Maxi Nannini crossing for the all-important tries.

The Tipperary side will entertain Monivea in the quarter-finals, after the Galway men overcame Waterpark on a 39-15 scoreline in Saturday’s clash at the Castle Grounds.

Monivea had to work hard for their win, having been 10-0 down after 17 minutes’ play. Gerry Millard scored a try for Waterpark, with goalkicking hooker Brendan Walsh tagging on a conversion and penalty.

Five points in arrears at the break, Monivea got back level just after the restart when a crossfield kick from Ger O’Connor was fielded by Ger Divilly who offloaded for the supporting Dave Prior to dot down.

Further tries from Cathal Divilly, Brian McDonagh and Rory O’Connor saw a buoyant Monivea set sail for the last-eight.

The best score of the afternoon came when centre Prior took a pass from Darren Blade and offloaded just in time to release Divilly for a quick counter attack. He was tackled on the ten-metre line but managed to get an inside pass away for replacement McDonagh to dash through for a seven-pointer.

Ulster Qualifying League outfit Coleraine can be proud of their performance in running defending AIB Junior Cup champions to just three points at Rugby Avenue on Saturday.

Two late converted tries from Nigel Hall and Aaron Rankin brought Coleraine right back into contention at 27-24 and Adam Parke was agonisingly close to drawing the game, missing narrowly with a last-gasp penalty from the halfway line.

Cill Dara enjoyed their trip to Belfast, coming away from Shaw’s Bridge with a 14-12 defeat of Cooke. The hosts led 12-8 at half-time, before a heavy downpour completely changed the complexion of the game.

Cill Dara’s pack took charge in the second half, with Eamon Hyland, Chris Moore and Ronan Kinsella excelling in making the hard yards. The crucial scores came from the boot of full-back Enda Farrell, who split the posts with penalty efforts after 55 and 65 minutes.

Meanwhile, City of Derry put on a superb showing to come from behind and beat current Leinster Junior League leaders Seapoint 19-14 at Kilbogget Park.

There was an incredible start to this first round tie with three tries scored in the opening ten minutes. Running rugby was the order of the day and centre David Funston, after linking with winger Josh Lewis, got the opener for Derry after just three minutes.

But Derry, whose early season form has not been good, were rocked when Seapoint hit back with two converted tries, both scored by their influential hooker Stephen Verso with out-half Brian Keegan adding the extras.

Verso’s second was well taken as he broke from a ruck, threw a dummy which left the cover for dead and he was able to romp in under the posts.

Derry’s strong scrum and lineout stood them in good stead as the game wore on and pacy full-back Peter Henderson went close to scoring a try on 25 minutes, following some good work by out-half Richard McCarter.

With the forwards doing the damage up front, a pinpoint crossfield kick from McCarter found winger Lewis for an excellent 55th minute try, which McCarter converted to cut the gap to 14-12.

Derry sealed the deal on the hour mark when scrum half Andrew Semple took on set piece ball and using McCarter as a decoy, he wormed his way through and in under the posts from 20 metres out. McCarter converted and the visitors’ territorial dominance in the closing stages allowed them see out a morale-boosting win.

Speaking afterwards, Derry coach Bevan Lynch said: “I was pleased with our performance, I sensed it coming. We had a great team run last Thursday night and we brought that to our play today.

“It has been a strange start to the season, it was always going to be difficult – after our success last season – to replicate the same level of performance week in, week out.

“We have increased our training and the other coaches, Mark Nicholl and Terry McMaster, and I have faith in the ability of our squad. We needed this type of challenge today and we’ve been looking forward to it since the draw was made.

“We have a lot more improvement to come and we’re now looking forward to playing Boyne at home in the next round.”


Ballina 3 Armagh 25, Heffernan Park
Boyne 59 Kilfeacle & District 12, Shamrock Lodge
Cashel 15 Tuam 7, Cashel
Coleraine 24 Tullamore 27, Rugby Avenue
Cooke 12 Cill Dara 14, Shaw’s Bridge
Monivea 39 Waterpark 15, Castle Grounds
Seapoint 14 City of Derry 19, Kilbogget Park

Clonmel v Sligo, Ard Na Gaoithe (Saturday, November 7, 2.30pm)


– To be played on Saturday, November 21

Armagh v Cill Dara

Tullamore v Clonmel or Sligo

Cashel v Monivea

City of Derry v Boyne