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Club Rugby: Provincial Preview

Club Rugby: Provincial Preview

In our weekly preview of grassroots rugby action from www.knockon.ie, we take a look at the club game in all four provinces.


The Junior League is drawing to a conclusion and there is still plenty to be decided. Corinthians secured their first league title since 2009 last Sunday with a bonus point home win. They are 13 points clear with two games remaining and cannot be caught now.

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Monivea are almost secure in second spot and as a result are set to represent the province in the Ulster Bank League Round Robin qualifiers as the highest ranked junior club in the league. A win at home to Ballinasloe on Sunday will confirm that position.

At the bottom of the nine-team league, there are two sides set to be automatically relegated. Tuam will fill one of those positions after a remarkably frustrating campaign where they only won twice but picked up eleven losing bonus points in 13 defeats.

The second relegation place is going to come down to the final day with four teams very much in the mix at the moment. Castlebar, Westport, Connemara and Ballinasloe all have work to do in the coming weeks.

This Sunday as well as the clash of Monivea and Ballinasloe, OLBC will look to secure their place in the top four by overcoming Castlebar at the Sportsground, while Junior Cup finalists Westport host champions Corinthians.


There is only one game in Division 1A of the Leinster League this weekend as Tullow host Dundalk on Saturday. The Carlow side cannot afford to lose this clash in their bid to secure their position in the top division for another season.

Last weekend, Ashbourne, New Ross and Swords all won league titles in their respective divisions across the Leinster League.

At Milltown House last Sunday Ashbourne lifted the Division 1B trophy thanks to a home win over Malahide. They finish the season away to Kilkenny this Sunday, looking to complete an unbeaten campaign.

Promotion to Division 1A was their main goal for the season but they also have a Towns Cup quarter-final ahead of them in the coming weeks so there is still plenty of rugby ahead for the Meath side.

Sunday’s stand-out game in Leinster is at Estuary Road with second place up for grabs as Malahide host Monkstown. A promotion play-off with the seventh-ranked side in Division 1A is the target and the visitors from Sydney Parade are favourites to secure that spot as the north Dublin side are four points back and need a win by eight or more points with a four-try bonus point to overhaul their rivals.

In Division 2A, Gorey and County Carlow are battling it out for top spot with two rounds still to play. The Wexford side hold a three-point advantage at the top. Both are expected to win this weekend but bonus points could be important. Gorey are at home to Clane, while Carlow are away to Roscrea on Sunday.

New Ross wrapped up the Division 2B crown last weekend with a home win over Birr. They have lost just once all season and have bounced back from relegation last season in fine style. They will be a force in Division 2A next season.

The Division 3 title was also wrapped up last weekend with Swords being crowned champions after a comprehensive home victory over Midland Warriors.


The scenario at the top of Division 1 in Munster is fairly straightforward. There are two rounds remaining in the league and Kanturk are five points clear of St. Mary’s at the top of the table. Both sides are on their travels on Sunday with the leaders from north west Cork away to Galbally and Limerick city men away to Mallow.

If St. Mary’s fail to at least match Kanturk’s return from their clash in east Limerick, then the league title race will be over, otherwise it will extend to Sunday, March 9 where Kanturk host Muskerry and St. Mary’s are at home to Newcastle West.

At the other end of the table, two sides will be automatically relegated from the 14-team league. Mallow (12 points) are bottom and need to win their final two games against St. Mary’s at home and Old Christians away. They will also need results to go their way elsewhere to survive.

Waterpark (13 points) are also in need of two victories to have a realistic chance of survival as they are four points from safety at the moment. They host Cobh Pirates and finish up away to Tralee on March 9.

Above those two sides are Skibbereen (17 points) who host Clonmel and travel to Cobh in their final two games.

Galbally (18 points) face a tough run-in at home to leaders Kanturk and away to Clonmel, while Old Christians (20 points) are not fully safe yet and could do with a win in Clonakility this weekend just to be sure.

In Division 2 of the Munster League, Kinsale (41 points) host Ennis and Bandon (38 points) have home advantage against Youghal on Sunday. Those two sides are in a battle for second with only one round remaining after this.

St. Senan’s have wrapped up first place and are eyeing a good run in the Munster Junior Cup after a big win over St. Mary’s last time out.


There are still four rounds remaining in the Kukri Ulster Qualifying League with Clogher Valley holding a seven-point advantage over Portadown at the top.

This weekend both sides are likely to pick up away wins – Clogher Valley travel to Coleraine while Portadown are at Shaw’s Bridge to take on Cooke.

The league has to conclude by March 15 in time for the Ulster Bank League Round Robin qualifiers, so the final week will see the two leading clubs playing three games in seven days with Wednesday night games on March 12.

The race for a place in the top four and All-Ireland Junior Cup qualification for 2014/15 should come down to the final day with the four sides involved facing each other on Saturday. Third-ranked Ballymoney host a Bangor side still reeling from a one-point cup loss in Ballynahinch last Saturday, while fifth-ranked Dromore are at home to CIYMS.

Last weekend’s cup action produced some exciting rugby. The semi-finals of the Powerade Towns Cup will see Ballymena seconds host Clogher Valley, while the Junior Cup champions Ballynahinch will take on Donaghadee on Saturday. March 29.

Check out www.knockon.ie for all your grassroots rugby news.