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Ulster Bank Junior Cup Final Preview: Enniscorthy v Instonians

Ulster Bank Junior Cup Final Preview: Enniscorthy v Instonians

A fascinating battle lies ahead in the Ulster Bank Junior Cup final on Saturday, as Enniscorthy aim for their second title in three years and Instonians bid to lift the trophy at their very first attempt.



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Current League & Cup Form – Enniscorthy: WWWWL; Instonians: WWWWW
Current League Positions – Enniscorthy: 1st, Leinster Junior League Division 1A; Instonians: 2nd, Ulster Qualifying League 1

Routes To The Final:

Enniscorthy –

First round: Walkover win at home to Dromore
Quarter-final: Won 32-20 at home to Ashbourne
Semi-final: Won 23-5 at home to Bangor

Instonians –

First round: Won 20-5 away to Newcastle West
Quarter-final: Won 48-14 at home to St. Senan’s
Semi-final: Won 30-20 at home to Clogher Valley

All-Ireland Junior Cup Records:

Enniscorthy –

2012/13: Runners-up (W26-10 away to Skibbereen; W15-8 at home to Donaghadee; W27-19 away to Clogher Valley; Final – L29-10 to Tullamore at Cill Dara RFC)

2013/14: Champions (W25-0 at home to CIYMS; W30-22 at home to Coolmine; W14-13 at home to Portadown; Final – W10-9 against Clogher Valley at Coolmine RFC)

2014/15: Reached the quarter-finals (W36-27 at home to Portadown; L14-12 away to Bangor)

Instonians –

2015/16 is their first year in the competition

Preview: Instonians’ maiden Junior Cup campaign has been particularly impressive up to this point, with Newcastle West (20-5) and St. Senan’s (48-14) both dispatched before December’s all-Ulster semi-final saw them defeat Clogher Valley 30-20 at home.

Inst boss Wilbur Leacock was delighted with his side’s four-try display as they bounced back from losing the Ulster Junior Cup final, regaining their ‘confidence and determination’ which has been a hallmark of their play this term.

The former All-Ireland League club, captained by hooker Glen Baxter, have had some stellar performances from the likes of versatile back rower Matt Dawson, prop Alan Whitten and half-backs Fraser Wright and Matthew Keane, and are sure to give 2014 winners Enniscorthy a stern test.

The Co. Wexford outfit also faced northern opposition at the semi-final stage, overcoming Ulster Junior Cup champions Bangor on a 23-5 scoreline in tough conditions at Ross Road where they previously took the quarter-final honours against Ashbourne – 32-20.

Enniscorthy got off to storming starts in both games, taking early 13-0 and 17-0 leads respectively, and Inst will know they cannot afford to play catch-up rugby against the Leinster League leaders. Although ‘Scorthy’s recent league defeat to Gorey (26-6) shows they are beatable.

Enniscorthy player-coach Damien McCabe will hope for big performances from skipper Killian Lett, Ross Barbour and Ivan Jacob (with 11 tries this season) in the backs, while Tomas Stamp recently returned from injury in the second row and back rowers Greg Jacob and Timmy Morrissey remain in fine form.

Their experience of recent All-Ireland finals and familiarity with the Ashbourne ground could also prove important as the Wexford men look to become double winners of the Junior Cup – a feat only three-time champions Tullamore have pulled off before.

IrishRugby.ie Prediction: Enniscorthy to win

All-Ireland Junior Cup Roll Of Honour –

2015: Dundalk
2014: Enniscorthy
2013: Tullamore
2012: Tullamore
2011: Crosshaven
2010: City of Derry
2009: Tullamore
2008: Navan
2007: Seapoint
2006: Rainey Old Boys