The Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup semi-finals take place this weekend. Former winners Tullamore are at home to Westport while Monivea, who have already won the Connacht Junior League, entertain Ulster outfit Coleraine. The final has been scheduled for Saturday, February 18 at Dubarry Park.
ULSTER BANK ALL-IRELAND JUNIOR CUP SEMI-FINALS: Saturday, February 4
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
MONIVEA v COLERAINE, Castle Grounds
Preview: Monivea’s road to the semis saw them beat Skerries in the opening round by a single point before defeating Coolmine in the quarter-finals.
This competition has often been a springboard to Ulster Bank League success with former winners such as Rainey Old Boys, Navan and Seapoint all gaining promotion.
Monivea have already booked their place in the round robin play-offs for the league with 11 wins out of 12 in the Connach Junior League.
Coleraine have beaten Tuam and Dundalk on their way to the semi-final stage and they have previous experience of making the final – they lost to Seapoint in the 2007 decider.
The Ulster side are mid-table in the qualifying league in Ulster, so this may be their main chance of silverware this season.
However, Monivea remain favourites and given they lost the final last season they probably feel they have some unfinished business with this competition.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Monivea to win by 6-10 points
TULLAMORE v WESTPORT, Spollanstown
Preview: Tullamore have a bit of a love affair with this competition. Beaten in the 2008 final by Navan, they reversed the result in the 2009 decider against the same side.
The midlands side saw off Kilfeacle in the first round this season before defeating Academy to book their place in the semi final. Tullamore are currently second in the Leinster League behind Skerries.
Westport lie in fifth spot in the Connacht Junior League with an evenly-balanced six wins and six losses. They booked their place in the semis with victories over Portadown and Cooke.
Tullamore’s form and experience makes the favourites to progress through to the final on Saturday, February 18.
IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Tullamore to win by 1-5 points
List Of Previous All-Ireland Junior Cup Champions –
2011 – Crosshaven
2010 – City of Derry
2009 – Tullamore
2008 – Navan
2007 – Seapoint
2006 – Rainey Old Boys
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