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Club Rugby: Provincial Preview

Club Rugby: Provincial Preview

Rob Murphy from grassroots rugby website, www.knockon.ie, brings us his weekly look at the local club action from around the four provinces.


The Cawley Cup takes centre stage in Connacht this weekend with the semi-finals taking place in north Mayo and east Galway on Sunday at 2.30pm.

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Holders Ballina host Connemara at Heffernan Park with the visitors coming in off the back of their Junior Plate success two weeks ago and a one-point win over Monivea last weekend.

That would make them favourites, but the hosts beat Loughrea impressively last weekend and are determined to defend their title.

Meanwhile, beaten Junior Cup finalists Westport have a tough task on their hands away to Ballinasloe.

The Mayo side edged out Ballyhaunis last weekend 13-8 in the quarter-finals, while their Galway opponents were pushed all the way against Castlebar before winning 32-18.


The 98fm Metro Cup final takes place at Donnybrook on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) with the kingpins of All-Ireland League rugby at the moment, Clontarf and Old Belvedere, contesting the decider.

The final pairing tells a lot about what it takes to challenge at All-Ireland League level with the two clubs having very strong J1 sides to back up their challenge at the senior grade.

The standard of rugby at this level is hugely impressive and spectators can expect a high octane game with plenty of tries.

The Provincial Towns Seconds Cup semi-finals are on this weekend with Clondalkin and Athboy meeting in Ashbourne, while in neat symmetry Tullow take on Ashbourne in Clondalkin’s home ground.

The Athboy first team are competing at the lower level of the Leinster Leagues and took the option to enter the Seconds Cup in their first year back at this level. The other three sides are J2s from their respective clubs.


There is a quiet weekend in store in Munster with just one outstanding Junior Cup fourth round tie to be played.

The Thomond seconds host Newcastle West at Liam Fitzgerald Park on Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals away to Clanwilliam. The visitors finished third in the junior league this year and will be slightly favoured in the fixture.

Last weekend’s cup action set up some hugely interesting quarter-final pairings for next weekend. The derby clash of UL Bohemians and Garryowen is a meeting of two major contenders.

The beaten 2012 finalists Skibbereen will take on a Denis Leamy-coached Clonmel side that knocked out Cork Constitution last Sunday.

Tipperary clubs are going well in the competition and Cashel seconds have a home draw against Clonakilty on Sunday.

The west Cork outfit are finishing their first season back at junior level on a high it seems, while Clanwilliam secured their home quarter-final with a last-gasp home win over local rivals Kilfeacle & District.


The junior scene in Ulster has one of its quieter weekends of the season so far. There are two outstanding Qualifying League 1 ties to be played with nothing at stake only end of season finishing positions.

Donaghadee and CIYMS clash on the east coast in a game that both sides will use as preparation for their forthcoming cup finals.

Donaghadee are at Ravenhill to take on Clogher Valley in the Towns Cup decider on Easter Monday, while CIYMS meet Grosvenor in the McCrea Cup final.

The other games on this weekend include UUC against Cooke in Q1, Academy and Carrickfergus in Q2 and the meeting of Monaghan and PSNI in Q3 with the home side needing a win to keep their fading hopes of avoiding relegation alive.

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