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AIB Junior Cup: Quarter-Finals Review

AIB Junior Cup: Quarter-Finals Review

Ulster sides Armagh and City of Derry, along with reigning champions Tullamore, all picked up home wins in Saturday’s AIB Junior Cup quarter-finals. The other quarter-final tie between Cashel and Monivea is being refixed after it was postponed due to an unplayable pitch.

City of Derry’s 45-5 demolition of Boyne was undoubtedly the result of the round as the Ulster side comfortably qualified for the AIB Junior Cup semi-finals.

From early on, Derry, who beat Leinster’s top team Seapoint in the last round, were on top. Their hunger was obvious and their back row of Karl Gemmell, Stephen Simms and Chris Cooper set the tone with some excellent play at the breakdown.

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In the tenth minute, the hosts took the lead when Cooper made a 30-metre break and supporting hooker Sam McAuley was on hand to take the pass and score the game’s opening try, with out-half Richard McCarter adding the conversion.

Boyne out-half Brian Collins almost set speedster Brendan Duffy up for a try in reply but a last-ditch tackle from full-back Peter Henderson saved Derry from leaking an immediate score.

But, off a five-metre scrum for Derry, the 37-year-old Ian O’Reilly got in well to charge down a clearance kick and dot down in the corner for Boyne’s only try of the afternoon.

Boyne were coming more and more into the game and Collins was unfortunate when his penalty attempt came back off a post.

Derry weathered that storm and five minutes before the break, team captain Bob McKillop was central to a lineout drive which led to McAuley grabbing his second try.

Boyne were guilty of some sloppy defending when Derry scrum half Andrew Semple took a quick tap and set off on a run. He linked with McCarter whose pinpoint pass sent centre Ryan Campbell scurrying over for Derry’s third try, which McCarter converted for a 19-5 half-time lead.

Turning around with the wind behind them, Derry built further momentum thanks to the kicking of McCarter and Henderson, who was the man-of-the-match winner.

Indeed, Henderson was next to cross the Boyne try-line. Number 8 Gemmell picked and drove forward off the base of a five-metre scrum and his inside pass fed Henderson for a well-executed seven-pointer.

Henderson added another try soon after when Gemmell, McKillop and McCarter were all involved before the Derry full-back came into the line at pace and was able to beat the Boyne cover from 40 metres out.

The impressive victors’ final try came ten minutes from the end when replacement David Houston broke forward, winger Josh Lewis took the ball on and he had support from McCarter who finished off a try which he converted himself.

Speaking afterwards, Derry backs coach Terry McMaster said: “I was pleased with our performance. We came back to form against Seapoint last time out and we moved our level of play up a few notches out there.

“The backs are getting to know one another’s play as the season progresses and we can only get better.

“The forwards worked hard and produced some quality possession and with Andrew Semple and Richard McCarter at half-back improving their understanding with every game, all bodes well for the rest of the season.”

Meanwhile, reigning champions Tullamore used a strong first half display to end Sligo’s hopes of progressing in the competition at Spollanstown.

Tullamore built a 17-0 half-time lead, albeit with place-kicker Richie Hughes missing two early penalty attempts.

The Offaly outfit took the lead on 22 minutes when a loose Sligo kick saw Tullamore counter well, setting up ruck position on the Sligo 22. Former Buccaneers number 8 Adrian Hanley took the ball on and drew the cover before releasing winger Keith Scally for an unconverted try in the corner.

Sligo went 10-0 up on the half-hour mark when some good hands from the Tullamore forwards released lock Ivor Deverell for a run-in at the corner.

Sligo conceded a third try just before referee John Coyle’s half-time whistle. Tullamore used their territorial dominance to pin the Connacht side back and that pressure told when lock Donal Milne exposed a gap in midfield and managed to touch down under the posts, with winger Mark Whelan adding the conversion.

To their credit, Sligo responded well at the start of the second half and they deservedly broke their scoring duck when winger Jack Macklin slotted a 50th minute penalty.

But the result was put beyond doubt when Tullamore secured their fourth try. From a set scrum, Hanley barged forward and with the defence sucked in, wide man Whelan was able to beat the cover and score after the ball had been spun wide.

Tries from full-back David Gerrity and outside centre Jordan Farrington, both excellent team scores, saw Sligo get back in touch. But Macklin’s successful conversion of Farrington’s late try was the final kick of the game.

Armagh proved too strong for Cill Dara at the Palace Grounds, with Eddie Irwin and Jonny Allen amongst the try scorers.

The Cashel v Monivea quarter-final, which had to be postponed on Saturday, will now take place next Sunday (November 29) in Cashel (kick-off 2pm).

The semi-finals are down for decision on Saturday, December 19 – both 2pm kick-offs – with the final being held at Dubarry Park in Athlone on Saturday, January 30 (kick-off 1pm).


Armagh 24 Cill Dara 3, Palace Grounds

Cashel v Monivea, Cashel (Match postponed due to an unplayable pitch)

City of Derry 45 Boyne 5, Judge’s Road

Tullamore 22 Sligo 15, Spollanstown

Related Links –

Draws Made For AIB Cup And AIB Junior Cup Semis

AIB Junior Cup: Round 1 Review