LAST week-end may have been a busy one but this coming Sunday will see eleven Limerick clubs involved in junior rugby action. The Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup is always sure to draw local attention and with Abbeyfeale, Bruff, Garryowen, Richmond, Young Munster, Newcastle West, Thomond, Old Crescent, Shannon, Galbally and UL Bohemian all in action this coming Sunday, the Sabbath will certainly be, so far, the busiest day of the season.
Recent months have seen this site’s predictions enjoy reasonable success but the week-end’s fixture list throws up a number of difficult pairings. Take for instance the meeting of Garryowen and Richmond in Dooradoyle or the clash between Newcastle West and Thomond, both of which could go in any direction. Others may be bankers but overall, Sunday’s results provide a stern challenge.
Abbeyfeale should be good enough to get to the next round with a home win over Waterpark. Winners twice in the 1960s, ‘Feale’ are in good form at present and will be expected to get the necessary win. The Bruff v Mallow fixture will be close but with home advantage, the Kilballyowen side might just shade it while Young Munster will fancy their chances of a place in the next round when they visit Kinsale.
The pairing of Garryowen and Richmond provides an interesting scenario. The light blues have been firing on all cylinders in the AIL and the club is picking up momentum on a weekly basis. This will surely rub off on the junior side and they will be favourites to win. Pat Humphreys will be making a return to the venue where he enjoyed some of his more famous 80 minutes but Richmond will have to step up considerably if they are to lower the light blues’ colours.
The clash between Newcastle West and Thomond is also an intriguing fixture. The ‘West’ beat the royal blues in Liam Fitzgerald Park earlier in the season but they have been without competitive action now for a few weeks (not of their making) and had a practice game against Young Munster earlier in the week which might sharpen them up. NCW are fancied to win this one, but it will be close.
Galbally have been playing well in recent weeks but it is unlikely that they will have enough fire power to get the better of Old Crescent in Rosbrien. Crescent are on fire at the moment with their try-count in the AIL rising with every fixture. A home win forecast here. The meeting of Shannon and Bandon in Coonagh has all the makings of a thriller. Bandon have a good squad and they will not be fazed by this visit to Limerick but, over the 80 minutes, they may not have enough power to overcome the Parish boys.
Bitterly disappointed with their defeat by Thurles by a single point last week-end, UL Bohemian will be trying to rekindle their spirits with a home victory over Tralee in Annacotty.
Our prediction for Sunday’s games include wins for Abbeyfeale, Bruff, Garryowen, Young Munster, Newcastle West, Old Crescent, Shannon and UL Bohemian.
Fixtures, Sunday, 2nd February:
Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup:
Abbeyfeale v Waterpark, Abbeyfeale, 2pm.
Ballincollig v Old Christians, Tanner Park, 2pm.
Bruff v Mallow, Kilballyowen Park, 2pm.
Charleville v Ennis, Charleville, 2pm.
Clonakilty v U.C.C., The Vale, 2pm.
Cork Constitution v Skibbereen, Temple Hill, 2pm.
Crosshaven v Clanwilliam, Crosshaven, 2pm.
Garryowen v Richmond, Dooradoyle, 2pm.
Kanturk v Cashel, Kanturk, 2pm.
Kilfeacle v St. Senan’s, Kilfeacle, 2pm.
Kinsale v Young Munster, Kinsale, 2pm.
Muskerry v Highfield, Ballyanly, 2pm.
Newcastle West v Thomond, Newcastle West, 2pm.
Old Crescent v Galbally, Rosbrien, 2pm.
Shannon v Bandon, Coonagh, 2pm.
Thurles v Fermoy, Thurles, 2pm.
Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Plate:
Scariff v Mitchelstown, Scariff, 2pm;
U.L. Bohemian v Tralee, Annacotty, 2pm.
Waterford City v Dungarvan, Waterford, 2pm.