In our second preview of Saturday’s Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup final, we take a look at Monivea – last year’s beaten finalists.
Monivea has some unfinished business with the Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup having lost last year’s final to Crosshaven. Can they emulate their opponents on Saturday, Tullamore, and lose one to win one?
Monivea have swept all before them in the Connacht Junior League and have all ready booked their place in the Round Robin series for the Ulster Bank League with two games to go.
They did get a bit of scare recently though in the Connacht Junior Cup when they nearly lost to a side a division below them.
Club captain Darren Blade says their minds may have been on next Saturday instead. “At the start of the season we said we wanted to go well in the league and cup,” he said.
“Once it was clear we were doing well in the league, we really wanted to go for this as well.
“I wouldn’t say we felt we left it behind last year but we know we have what it takes to get to the final, and we have a lot of cup experience in the team.
“We had a tough game against Skerries first up and we just edged them out and we knew then that we could go hard for the final again.”
Blade is one of three brothers who play for the club. Youngest brother Caolin is due to line out with the Ireland Under-18 Clubs side in Italy on the same day, so the family are divided on their travel plans. His other brother Eoin is his understudy at scrum half.
Monivea are typical of many clubs these days with a wide range of ages playing in their first team – their oldest player is 31 and their youngest is 18. Like many clubs though the current economic climate is taking a toll.
Blade is currently out of work but says: “Rugby has kept me here this year. We were determined to build this season and I also coach the Under-19s, but once the season is done I may have to look at emigrating.”
Monivea’s first round tussle with Skerries was followed by wins over Coolmine and Coleraine.
One To Watch: Centre Kevin Higgins captained the Connacht Junior Interpro winners last season and is one of the most experienced players in the team.
Related Links –