Bruff, UL Bohemians and Garryowen all feature in this weekend’s semi-final clashes.
Bruff V UL Bohemian, Kilballyowen Park Kick Off 2:00pm
UL Bohemians make the short trip to Kilballyowen Park on Saturday afternoon as they take on Bruff in an all Limerick Munster Senior Cup semi final.
Both side’s have had different starts to their respective league campaigns thus far with Bruff sitting in fourth place in 2C whilst Bohs are stuck in second last place, seven points ahead of fellow strugglers Dolphin in 1B.
The county side will be buoyed by back to back wins over Midleton in the league and head coach Owen Cahill says they are looking forward to the challenge.
“After the last two games against Midleton, the mood is pretty good. There is a lot of sore bodies and guys that are looking forward to the break. But in saying that, with the Senior Cup semi final coming up, the will be glad to face Bohs as a challenge.
“Bohs at the end of the day are a 1B team and there is a lot of quality in their team so our lads will like to see how they stack up against these lads.”
Cahill was a centre on the last Bruff side to raise the Munster Senior Cup back in 2011 when they toppled Garryowen en route to a Bateman success.
Cup games can be great levellers and often pay little heed to divisional ranking and the county side will pose a tough challenge for Bohs. Cahill is hoping that the home crowd will play their part as they set about causing an upset.
“It is something to look forward to on Saturday, Senior Cup semi final and anything can happen. We would hope that people would turn up to have a look and see. You just never know what could happen on the night and if there is a good crowd behind us, that could spur the lads on a bit more.”
The Red Robins have only two wins to their name in 1B this year and are struggling to repeat the fine form of last season. However it should be noted that they have lost five of those games by single score margins indicating that their league position is not a true reflection of the competitiveness.
Head coach Christy Neilan says the cup semi final offers a welcome distraction from their league struggles.
“We have had some well documented mishaps with our league form at the moment. Between on thing and another, we have a relatively young squad, there was exams and we picked up injuries. They are not excuses, it’s just what happens.
“We have lost five games by one score margins, they were the kind of games we were winning last season and that is the difference. To get to another competition that is not revolving around the league. I think the boys are looking forward to it.”
UL Bohemians haven’t won the Senior Cup since 1962 and suffered a late 15-14 defeat to Cork Con in the seventh minute of injury time of the 2012 final. Neilan knows the history behind this competition and is relishing the chance to reach another final.
“The earlier rounds of all the cup competitions are treated as a blooding ground for most of the clubs but once you get into the quarter finals and semi finals, it is taken a lot more seriously. At the end of the day, the senior cup was the premier competition in Limerick, Cork and Munster for over 100 years so it’s kind of a big deal.
On paper, one would have to fancy the visitors on Saturday given their status as a 1B side, but a trip to Kilballyowen is never an easy one and Bruff will be hoping for a big upset to finish off their 2017.
Neilan is certainly not taking Bruff lightly.
“There is no way we will underestimate them. It is a cup game and anything can happen. We are playing them on their patch as well which doesn’t help us. All we can do is try and do our own thing.”
Garryowen v Cork Constitution, Dooradoyle, Kick Off 2:00pm
For the third and final week in a row, Garryowen take on Cork Constitution with this final time being in the Senior Cup. Over the past two weeks, honours have been even with the Light Blues winning in Dooradoyle, then Con got their revenge with a bonus point win in Temple Hill last Saturday.
That try bonus point last weekend, as well as their losing bonus point the week before have proved vital for the Cork side in the league as they now sit in third, two points and two places ahead of their opponents going into the Christmas break.
The visitors to Limerick on Saturday are now competing in a Cup that has treated them so well over the last five years, winning the last five Cups in a row with wins against Garryowen in 2014 and 2015 during that dominant period.
In round one in September, the reigning Champions defeated Shannon 20-12 before hammering local rivals UCC 44-10 at the Mardyke in October to secure a semi final spot.
Garryowen received a bye in the first round against Dolphin as they couldn’t field an XV and then won a tightly fought encounter with local rivals Young Munster on a scoreline of 19-16 in the quarter finals to set up this exciting fixture.
The host’s haven’t won this competition since 2012 and after failing to win the Charity cup earlier on in the season against Nenagh Ormond, will be hungry to get a chance to claim a bit of silverware in January, but first have to stop this incredibly successfull Cork Constitution side who are looking to reach their sixth final in a row and their sixth winners medals too.
A really tough fixture to call, but going by Neil Cronin and his side’s form on their home patch this year, it could mean there will be a new winner of the Senior Cup in 2018.