There is a mouth-watering Sunday showdown in prospect as Young Munster try to dethrone reigning Division 1 champions Cork Constitution at Temple Hill. The RTE cameras will be present for what is sure to be one of the games of the season.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1 SEMI-FINAL: Sunday, April 17
CORK CONSTITUTION (1st, Division 1A) v YOUNG MUNSTER (3rd, Division 1A), Temple Hill, 2.35pm (live RTÉ 2)
Ulster Bank League Season’s Form – Cork Constitution: WWWWLDWWLWWDWW; Young Munster: WWLLLLWLWWWWLW
Ulster Bank League Top Scorers – Cork Constitution: Points: Gerry Hurley 80; Tries: Brian Hayes, Simon Zebo, Richie Lane 4 each; Young Munster: Points: Alan Kingsley 137; Tries: Matthew Costelloe 4
Ulster Bank League Records – Cork Constitution: 2005/06: 3rd, Division 1, lost to Clontarf in semi-final; 2006/07: 1st, Division 1, lost to Garryowen in final; 2007/08: 1st, Division 1, champions, beat Garryowen in final; 2008/09: 1st, Division 1, lost to Clontarf in semi-final; 2009/10: 1st, Division 1A, champions, beat St. Mary’s College in final
Young Munster: 2005/06: 3rd, Division 2, lost to Dolphin in semi-final; 2006/07: 4th, Division 2, lost to Old Belvedere in semi-final; 2007/08: 2nd, Division 2, lost to UCC in final; 2008/09: 14th, Division 1; 2009/10: 2nd, Division 1B
Preview: Not even Cork Constitution will fancy playing Young Munster, particularly after the tremendous late run which has seen the Limerick outfit snatch third spot in the Division 1A table and gain a semi-final spot.
The Cookies are well organised, extremely hard to break down and have one of the best place-kickers around in scrum half Alan Kingsley.
Furthermore, they know they have what it takes to upset Cork Con, having beaten them 6-3 at Tom Clifford Park in February, with Kingsley landing two penalties.
But Sunday’s semi-final is at Temple Hill where the holders tend to be at their best. They also have more talent, and more contracted players, than any other team in the competition.
Some of their recent displays, which saw them finish top of the table, have been really excellent with young winger Simon Zebo proving an outstanding finisher.
In addition, they beat Young Munster 32-19 in their first league meeting at Temple Hill back in October, outscoring Mike Prendergast’s men by five tries to one.
But they will appreciate that Sunday’s match is a very different proposition. It is going to be fiercely contested with Cork Con’s greater threat behind the scrum possibly giving them an edge.
Cork Constitution Der O’Riordan said: “The rugby in this year’s Ulster Bank League has been a pleasure to watch and played to the highest standard.
“We are encouraging people to turn out and watch Cork Con and Young Munster battle it out for a spot in the league final.”
Young Munster President Derek Tobin is also looking forward to the day. “Games like these are a pleasure to be involved in, they bring out the best in terms of skill and passion from two great clubs of Munster and Irish rugby,” he said.
CORK CONSTITUTION: tbc
YOUNG MUNSTER: tbc
Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU)
Most Recent League Meetings – Saturday, October 23, 2010: Cork Constitution 32 Young Munster 19, Temple Hill; Saturday, February 5, 2011: Young Munster 6 Cork Constitution 3, Tom Clifford Park
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Cork Constitution: 2/7: Draw: 22/1; Young Munster: 5/2
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Cork Constitution to win by 6-10 points