Two teams with a bit of history in this competition go head to head at Dubarry Park on Saturday afternoon. The game kicks off at 2.30pm and if history is anything to go by, we can expect a cracking game of rugby with a large and vocal support backing both sides. The game will be streamed live on IrishRugby.ie
The Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup has become something of a bell weather for junior clubs on the rise. Previous winners and finalists include Seapoint, Navan, Rainey Old Boys, City of Derry and Armagh who have all gone on to win promotion to the Ulster Bank League.
The attraction for the players and the clubs, though, lies in the change. Tullamore captain Aaron Deverell sums it up by saying: “It is great to play teams outside your normal league. You could be on the road north or up to Dublin our out west or down to Cork. It is a great chance to meet other junior clubs in other provinces.”
For Tullamore this is their third final – the previous two were back-to-back affairs against Navan with a loss in 2008 and a win in 2009.
Monivea, on the other hand, are aiming to go one better than last year when they lost to Crosshaven in the final.
Their captain Darren Blade said: “We set this as one of our goals at the start of the season and with the league sorted we can really concentrate on the cup.”
The County Galway side had possibly the tougher route to the final with a first round tie against Skerries, who currently lead Tullamore in the Leinster Junior League. A single point win for Monivea saw them through.
A home game against Coolmine proved a tough affair but Monivea booked their semi-final place against Coleraine whom they beat 13-3.
Tullamore faced Kilfeacle in the opening round and notched up a big victory before putting 21 points past Academy and then Westport to book their third final appearance.
Monivea have won the Connacht Junior League title already and that may have caused them to relax last week when they nearly got knocked out of the Connacht Junior Cup.
Tullamore may also have had their eye on this weekend when they lost to Ashbourne recently.
All told, it adds to up to a big game for both clubs and promises to be another great final in a competition that has seen its fair share since its inception in 2005.
Monivea Squad: – Backs (11): Darren Blade (capt), Ger O’Connor, Eoin Blade, John Culkin, Ger Divilly, Kevin Higgins, Colm Neary, Seamus Fahy, Coleman Maher, Brian Flaherty, Ian Murphy.
Forwards (15): Ger Fitzmaurice, Ronan Coughlan, Damien McNeilis, Cathal Divilly, Bernie Ryan, Jason Connolly, Willie Parker, Brian Murphy, Vinny Lally, Shane McHugh, Pat Fitzmaurice, Martin King, Dave Madden, Kieran Concarr, Eoin Rooney.
Tullamore: Brian Geraghty; Colin Draper, David Clavin, Tom Gilligan, Rory Deverell; Aaron Deverell (capt), Richie Hughes; Tomas Bennett, AN Other, Eddie Brady, Donal Milne, Ivor Deverell, Jason Clancy, Rob Connor, Adrian Hanley.
Replacements (from): Cian Glennon, Ger Molloy, Kevin Browne, David Hanlon, Paul McNiff, Ivor Scully, Colin Hughes, David O’Neill, Darragh Lowry, Odhran McIntyre.
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