Holders Tullamore will not relinquish this piece of silverware easily. The AIB Junior Cup has proved hugely popular with the participants as it brings them into contact and competition with junior clubs from other provinces for the first time.
AIB JUNIOR CUP: QUARTER-FINALS: Saturday, November 21
ARMAGH v CILL DARA, Palace Grounds, 2.30pm
Preview: Cill Dara will make the trip up to Armagh on Saturday and while their supporters may combine the rugby with some seasonal shopping, both teams will be focused on the game in hand.
Armagh knocked out Ballina in the first round, while Cill Dara beat another Ulster side, Cooke, by a narrow two points to gain their spot in the last-eight.
The Ulster club are unbeaten in the Kukri Qualifying League with seven wins and 223 points to their name. Cill Dara, by contrast, are mid-table in Leinster League Division 1A with four wins from seven games.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Armagh to win by 6-10 points
CASHEL v MONIVEA, Cashel, 2.30pm (Match postponed due to adverse weather conditions)
Preview: Cashel are no strangers to the AIB Junior Cup. They lost a semi-final last season to Tullamore in a cracking game of rugby.
Last time out they took care of Tuam and they will hope to account for another Connacht side when Monivea come calling. The Tipperary club are currently fifth in the Munster Junior League, with two wins out of three.
Monivea are sitting nicely at the top of Division 1A of the Connacht Junior League with six victories out of six, so Saturday’s game promises to be a real cracker.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Monivea to win by 1-5 points
CITY OF DERRY v BOYNE, Judge’s Road, 2.30pm
Preview: City of Derry are adjusting to life outside the AIB League, while still chasing promotion. They are fourth in the Kukri Qualifying League with five wins out of six – showing just how tough it is.
They beat former AIB Junior Cup holders Seapoint, going well in the Leinster League, last time out in the cup.
Boyne gave newcomers Kilfeacle a torrid time in the first round of the cup and their Leinster League form – they are second with five wins from seven games – suggests that this could be a really hard-fought cup tie.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: City of Derry to win by 6-10 points
TULLAMORE v SLIGO, Spollanstown, 2.30pm
Preview: The AIB Junior Cup holders welcome a Sligo side that is unbeaten in the Connacht Junior League. Five out of five and a solid win over Clonmel in the cup means the Connacht club will pose a serious threat to Melly’s men.
Tullamore had a tight win over Coleraine in the opening round and their Leinster League form sees them in third place with a four from seven win rate.
The weather could be a key factor and while Sligo will be no strangers to the rain, the home side will look to use their back-line to run fast and hard when the opportunity presents. An intriguing tie which could see a Connacht club emerge as real contenders for the title!
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Sligo to win by 1-5 points
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