The draw for the Energia All-Ireland Junior Cup semi-finals has been made, with new champions set to be crowned in the New Year.
Clogher Valley will host Newcastle West, while Ballyclare have home advantage against Connemara in the last-four. Both games are down for decision on Saturday, December 18.
It will be just the second time in 16 years of competition that a Leinster club does not feature in the penultimate round.
The Connemara Blacks ousted current champions Kilfeacle & District, winning their quarter-final 17-11 in Clifden thanks to tries from David O’Reilly, John O’Brien and Fionn Heffernan.
Having won in Limerick and Galway during this season’s opening two rounds, Henry O’Toole’s westerners travel to Ballyclare for next month’s semi-final.
For their part, Ballyclare have yet to leave the province after a home victory over Gorey in the first round, while they were pushed all the way in an 18-17 quarter-final success at Enniskillen.
Newcastle West are on the road to Clogher for their semi-final showdown. Away status will be nothing to new to the Limerick men after hard-earned triumphs at both Tuam and Mallow to secure their semi-final berth.
James Kelly and captain Alan O’Riordan were their try scorers as they overcame a resilient Mallow team. It was 21-15 in the end, with Charlie O’Doherty kicking 11 points.
Clogher Valley demonstrated their cup credentials with a win in Ashbourne in the first round, before accounting for 2020 runners-up Dromore on Saturday.
They are back at the Cran for their semi-final fixture as the only club left in this season’s competition to have contested a final themselves.
Players like captain Paul Armstrong, Kyle Cobane and David Sharkey are survivors from that 10-9 defeat to Enniscorthy in the 2014 decider. They were on the team sheet for Saturday’s 23-6 victory over Dromore, with the impressive Armstrong scoring 18 points.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND JUNIOR CUP SEMI-FINALS:
Saturday, December 18 –
CLOGHER VALLEY v NEWCASTLE WEST, the Cran, 2pm
BALLYCLARE v CONNEMARA, the Cloughan, 2pm