Jump to main content



AIB Cup: Semi-Final Previews

AIB Cup: Semi-Final Previews

The AIB Cup takes centre stage this weekend with the semi finals down for decision. There are three Munster clubs and one Ulster side in contention and while the odds may be stacked against Ballymena, they can take heart from the fact that Ballynahinch won last season from the same position.

2009/10 AIB CUP SEMI-FINALS: Saturday, December 19


Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

AIB League Current Form – Ballymena: WWLLLLW; Cork Constitution: LWLWWWW
Routes To The AIB Cup Semi-Finals – Ballymena: Round 2: Bective Rangers 13 Ballymena 21; Round 3: Ballymena 20 Young Munster 9; Quarter-Final: Ballymena 20 Old Belvedere 19; Cork Constitution: Round 2: Ballynahinch 16 Cork Constitution 18; Round 3: Cork Constitution 33 Shannon 14; Quarter-Final: Cork Constitution (walkover) Queen’s University

AIB Cup Top Scorers – Ballymena: Points: David O’Hara 25; Tries: Jamie Smith 3; Cork Constitution: Points: Richie Lane 33; Tries: Richie Lane 3

AIB Cup Odds (Paddy Power) – Outright Betting: Ballymena: 6/1; Cork Constitution: 5/4

Preview: The Braidmen face a tough prospect if they are to emulate Ballynahinch and win the AIB Cup. They will have to beat a Cork Con side who have rediscovered their mojo.

Cork Con lost out to ‘Hinch in last season’s final so they may feel that this trophy should be sitting in their cabinet come the end of January. Given that they beat the holders in round 2 and also accounted for Shannon en route, their claim cannot be taken lightly.

Ballymena have knocked out Bective Rangers, Young Munster and Old Belvedere so the semi-final is the first time they will face a team from Division 1A.

Cork Con won the AIB Cup back in 2006 and have also picked up an AIB League title in recent seasons. Their early season form this term was mixed but Brian Walsh’s men have not lost in the AIB League since October and have picked up hard-fought wins over St. Mary’s College, Shannon and Clontarf along the way.

The return from injury of scrum half Duncan Williams gives them an added boost, while in Richie Lane and Cronan Healy they have proven points getters.

Ballymena’s league form has been mixed with three wins from seven and while they have notched up an impressive 119 points, they have conceded a total of 134 so far.

Home advantage is always worth a few points in a cup tie but Cork Con’s pedigree and form should see them taking the spoils on Saturday afternoon.

Last Season’s AIB League Meeting – Saturday, April 18, 2009: Cork Constitution 54 Ballymena 23, Temple Hill

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win by 1-5 points

DOLPHIN v GARRYOWEN, Musgrave Park, 2pm

AIB League Current Form – Dolphin: WWWLLW; Garryowen: WLLLLW
Routes To The AIB Cup Semi-Finals – Dolphin: Round 2: Dolphin 38 Barnhall 3; Round 3: Belfast Harlequins 7 Dolphin 28; Quarter-Final: Dolphin 24 Galwegians 10; Garryowen: Round 2: Navan 19 Garryowen 34; Round 3: Garryowen 19 St. Mary’s College 3; Quarter-Final: Blackrock College 6 Garryowen 16

AIB League Cup Scorers – Dolphin: Points: Barry Keeshan 35; Tries: Barry O’Mahony 4; Garryowen: Points: Conor Murray 20; Tries: Diarmaid McCarthy, Diarmuid McMahon, Alan Gaughan, Paul Neville, Anthony Kavanagh, Robert Meyer 1 each

AIB Cup Odds (Paddy Power) – Outright Betting: Dolphin: 2/1; Garryowen: 3/1

Preview: This is Dolphin’s first foray into the semi-finals in the AIB Cup and one suspects they would dearly like to put this piece of silverware in the cabinet.

In their way stand a Garryowen side with some wounded pride and a point to prove.

Dolphin’s impressive axis of James Coughlan, Barry O’Mahony, Nick Williams, Sam Cronin and Barry Keeshan and some standout displays from the team’s unsung heroes have helped them pick up some serious scalps in the AIB League so far this season with wins over Cork Con and Shannon in the early weeks.

Dolphin’s cup run has seen them beat Barnhall, Belfast Harlequins and Galwegians but this Saturday’s opponents, Garryowen, have a proven track record in Cup competitions having won this one back in 2007. 

The Dooradoyle side will travel with some baggage on Saturday. They may have beaten both of their Limerick neighbours in the league so far but they are the only two wins they have managed. Interestingly both of those wins came under floodlights.

Their cup run has seen them put out AIB League newcomers Navan, Division 1A leaders St. Mary’s College and high flying Blackrock, proving that they have not forgotten how to win cup matches.

Nonethless, this is far from vintage from the Dooradoyle club who only two seasons ago swept all before them in National and Domestic Club competitions.

Musgrave Park on a crisp December afternoon could be just the ticket for rugby fans in Cork – this could be a bruiser!

Last Season’s AIB League Meeting – Saturday, April 11, 2009: Dolphin 14 Garryowen 9, Musgrave Park

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Dolphin to win by 6-10 points