Kilfeacle & District and Seapoint will have home advantage in the upcoming semi-finals of the Energia All-Ireland Men’s Junior Cup. Both games will take place on Saturday, December 16.
Today’s semi-final draw, conducted by the IRFU, has produced a mouth-watering south Dublin derby between Seapoint and Bective Rangers, while Kilfeacle, who lifted the trophy in 2020, will host the 2022 runners-up, Ballyclare.
The two December 16 fixtures will both kick off at 2pm, as extra-time will be required if the teams are level after 80 minutes. The final is scheduled for Saturday, January 27.
Kilfeacle are bidding to reach their third Junior Cup final after appearances in 2018 and 2020. Next month’s semi-final will be their third home game against Ulster opposition in this season’s competition.
Conor Keyes’ charges edged out Cooke 20-18 in the opening round, needing a late maul try from Brendan Barron to progress, and Saturday’s quarter-final against Dromore ended 36-24 in their favour with captain Kevin Kinane amongst the try scorers.
Coached by Mike Orchin-McKeever, Ballyclare are on their travels again having won at Castlebar (69-0) and City of Derry (33-25) in the previous rounds. Alex Darrah bagged a brace of tries at Judges Road to help secure their semi-final spot.
Seapoint won the Junior Cup back in 2007 and returned to the junior ranks after their relegation from the Energia All-Ireland League in 2019. They had a couple of first round exits in recent seasons before hitting the ground running this year.
As well as currently topping Leinster Junior League Division 1A, Adam Philpott’s men have ended the Junior Cup hopes of both Westport (40-11) and Newcastle West (32-11). Wingers Oisin McKenna and James Newman scored two tries each the last day.
Bective lost a thrilling league contest 36-29 when they hosted Seapoint in September. Geoff Mahon came off the bench to kick the clinching penalty after Seapoint had scored five tries, including a monster 22-metre maul effort, to Bective’s four.
This will be Bective’s first Junior Cup semi-final appearance after making their competition debut last season. Bernard Jackman’s well-drilled outfit fell at the first hurdle back then, but have dispatched both Richmond (38-10) and Gorey (38-28) this term.
Despite Gorey twice closing the gap to three points at Energia Park on Saturday, Bective put together a bulldozing lineout drive to propel replacement Tom Dever over the line for the decisive try. They also won 29-14 when they last visited Kilbogget Park twelve months ago.
Over the years, a number of clubs have built on their Junior Cup success to achieve All-Ireland League status, the most recent being back-to-back champions Clogher Valley.
Stephen Bothwell’s Valley side are currently riding high at the top of Division 2C, which also contains two other former Junior Cup winners in Tullamore and Enniscorthy. Inaugural champions Rainey Old Boys are a tier above them, with Navan, the 2008 winners, competing in Division 2A.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND MEN’S JUNIOR CUP SEMI-FINALS:
Saturday, December 16
Kick-off 2pm unless stated –
Kilfeacle & District v Ballyclare, Morrissey Park
Seapoint v Bective Rangers, Kilbogget Park