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Ashbourne And Enniscorthy To Contest Ulster Bank Junior Cup Final

Ashbourne And Enniscorthy To Contest Ulster Bank Junior Cup Final

The Ulster Bank Junior Cup final on Saturday, January 28 will be an all-Leinster affair after Ashbourne and defending champions Enniscorthy emerged from two hotly-contested semi-finals.


Ashbourne 20 Clogher Valley 19, Milltown House

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De La Salle Palmerston 26 Enniscorthy 34, Kirwan Park

Clogher Valley experienced the full gamut of emotions in their 20-19 semi-final defeat at Milltown House as Ashbourne held on to qualify for their first ever All-Ireland Junior Cup decider.

Clogher had three yellow cards and one red over the course of a highly eventful game, falling foul of referee Barrie O’Connell’s whistle on a number of occasions. They were the early aggressors, winning penalties in the scrum and maul before lock David Sharkey crashed over for an eighth minute try, converted by scrum half Neil Trotter.

After two penalty misses, the Ashbourne attack began to make further inroads and a free-flowing 25th-minute move through midfield ended with centre Adam Sherrard crossing the whitewash and scrum half and captain Gavin Kennedy converting.

Clogher had an awful finish to the first half, losing skipper Kyle Cobane to the bin for a high tackle, conceding a penalty and a converted try and also having another key player, number 8 Ryan Wilson, yellow carded in quick succession.

Ashbourne’s second try was a superb effort, they attacked from deep and their pace was too much for the 14-man Valley side as out-half Adam Martin raided in under the posts for a 17-7 scoreline at the break.

Once restored to their full complement, Clogher used a penalty to find touch deep in Ashbourne territory. The resulting lineout maul saw backs and forwards drive Andy Breen over for an unconverted effort and the deficit was down to five points.

But disaster struck a few minutes later when Wilson received a second yellow card. Ashbourne duly pushed more than a converted score ahead when Casey Dunne landed a penalty in the 75th minute.

Clogher built for a big finish, though, and the numbers were even up with an Ashbourne sin-binning, Clogher’s pack getting back on top and forcing the issue again with some big carries from Cobain, Michael Treanor and Sharkey. In the dying minutes, the Fivemiletown outfit drew a penalty try after Ashbourne brought down their advancing maul illegally and Trotter’s conversion made it a one-point game.

However, despite a valiant effort all-round, Clogher fell just short in their comeback bid and Ashbourne held on for a gritty victory and a shot at Junior Cup glory.

Meanwhile, a strong start and finish helped title holders Enniscorthy overcome the challenge of De La Salle Palmerston 34-26 at Kirwan Park. They are now through to their fourth Junior Cup final in five seasons.

It was not until flanker and man-of-the-match Tom Ryan barged over for an 80th minute try that the visitors’ victory was secured. This was an excellent advertisement for junior rugby in Leinster and contained nine quality tries.

With their speedy backs threatening all afternoon, DLSP book-ended the first half with a couple of tries but still trailed 21-12 at half-time as ‘Scorthy touched down through wingers Ivan Jacob and David O’Dwyer and number 8 Nick Doyle, who crossed from a 15-metre rolling maul.

The margin was down to two points after a third ‘Salmo try, however the hosts were unable to transfer their dominance of the third quarter onto the scoreboard as Joe Carley, Ryan and Killian Lett made some crucial tackles for the Wexford men.

Just as important was influential out-half Ivan Poole’s 70th-minute try in the corner. His conversion attempt came back off the post but he was successful with a penalty, a few minutes later, to give Enniscorthy a 29-19 advantage.

‘Salmo hit back with their fourth try, capitalising on a couple of missed tackles, before ‘Scorthy – aided by energetic replacements John Daly and Tony White – sealed their progress through to another final with Ryan’s unconverted score.

2016/17 Ulster Bank Junior Cup Results


Ashbourne v Enniscorthy, venue tbc, 2.30pm


2016 – Enniscorthy
2015 – Dundalk
2014 – Enniscorthy
2013 – Tullamore
2012 – Tullamore
2011 – Crosshaven
2010 – City of Derry
2009 – Tullamore
2008 – Navan
2007 – Seapoint
2006 – Rainey Old Boys