The Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup returns this weekend. The quarter-finals of this well-supported competition hold out the prospect of some great rugby.
ULSTER BANK ALL-IRELAND JUNIOR CUP QUARTER FINALS: Saturday, November 26
Kick-offs 2.30pm unless stated –
Academy v Tullamore, JC Picken Fields
Hosts Academy defeated Richmond in a tight game in the opening round and they may well see the cup as a bit of a lifeline this season.
They are nought from six in the Qualifying League in Ulster so Saturday afternoon’s encounter offers a second chance at success.
Visitors Tullamore have serious pedigree in this competition having reached two finals, winning one in 2009. They have won three of their six games in the Leinster League and defeated Kilfeacle in the cup’s opening round.
Coleraine v Dundalk, Rugby Avenue
Coleraine are also struggling in the Ulster Qualifying League but enjoyed a big win over Tuam in the opening round of the cup. They were beaten finalists in the competition back in 2007 and would love another crack at the trophy.
Dundalk are currently seventh in the Leinster League with two wins from four. They enjoyed a good 20-point win over Ballina in the opening round but that was at home.
With both sides struggling for league form, the cup represents a chance to boost their confidence and it has a way of throwing up some great games.
Monivea v Coolmine, Castle Grounds
Monivea travelled to Skerries in the opening round and squeezed a one-point victory over the north Dublin club.
Last year’s beaten finalists are primed for another crack at the trophy but will face stiff opposition from Coolmine.
The Dubliners have won two from six in Leinster but they played some amazing rugby to defeat Tralee 87-21 in their opening cup game. This could be a cracking clash at the Castle Grounds.
Westport v Cooke, Carrowholly
Westport travelled to Portadown in the opening round and came away with an 8-0 triumph. They will relish welcoming Cooke to Carrowholly on Saturday.
Cooke defeated cup holders Crosshaven 21-14 in the first round, setting themselves up as potential favourites for this season’s crown.
The trip to County Mayo will test their mettle and having lost to a Connacht side in the semis last season, they should be firing on all cylinders for this one.
List Of Previous All-Ireland Junior Cup Champions –
2011 – Crosshaven
2010 – City of Derry
2009 – Tullamore
2008 – Navan
2007 – Seapoint
2006 – Rainey Old Boys