Munster Schools Senior Cup Preview

The first round kicks of on Tuesday January 16th

January can often be a rather bleak month for students, having to face back into the daily routine of getting up early and going to school following Christmas holidays, it is also a month many students look forward too, especially when they have a half decent side competing in the Senior Cup.

This year it all kicks off again on January 15 in what will be the 109th year of the illustrious competition that brings schools from all over Munster together in highly anticipated and entertaining games, all senior games will be preceded by the junior ties between the same opposition at 1pm.

Ard Scoil Rís V CBC, Lansdowne. 17th January (Kick Off 2:30pm)

For the fifth season in a row Ard Scoil Rís and Christian Brothers College Cork will meet in some capacity in the Munster Schools Senior Cup and going by past results Ard Scoil have the upper hand having beaten the Cork side three out of the last four meetings whether it be qualifiers or quarter finals.

Christians however have history on their side having won the competition a record 29 times in their history, their most recent coming in 2016 when they defeated Crescent College Comprehensive in Musgrave park to end a 7 year drought. On the other hand the north Circular road school have never won it, coming closest in 2014 and 2015 when they were defeated by Crescent and Rockwell college respectively.

A huge number of the CBC squad that took home the Munster Schools Junior Cup back in 2015 will be involved with their senior side this year which puts them in a great position going into the 2018 competition, having won silverware together already suggesting it could be a real tough day at the office for the Limerick school.

Crescent College Comprehensive V St. Clement’s College, 16th January, UL 4G Pitch. (Kick Off 2:30pm)

In what will be the closest game of first round, geographically speaking, Crescent College comprehensive will face St. Clement’s College in the only all Limerick affair, at this stage at least. Clement’s defeated Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí in their Qualifier in early December and will be looking to keep up that good form as they go into this fixture with Crescent boasting a number of players from the 2016 Junior cup winning squad.

The Dooradoyle school, who have won the competition on the most occasions out of all the Limerick side’s with a total of 11 wins, are this year led by Matt Browne, with 2013 and 2014 winning coach Conan Doyle not involved, only coaching Garryowen this year.

The South Circular road school are coached by Shane Mullaly again this term following on from the last few years of successful qualification campaigns to reach the first round of the Senior Cup, but haven’t gotten very far once in it losing to Glenstal and Comp last year and Castletroy the year previous. With so much success in the cup in previous years, and the fact they are always a threat in the cup no matter what, Crescent look to be favourites for this local derby.

Castletroy College V PBC, 16th January, Muskerry RFC. (Kick Off 2:30pm)

Castletroy College will have home advantage against reigning Champions Presentation Brothers Cork for the first round of the Senior Cup this year. Castletroy, who famously did the double in 2008 winning both Senior and Junior Cups, will face off against Pres for the first time since 2015 when the Cork school came out victorious to set up a semi-final with Ard Scoil Ris.

Former Munster scrum half Cathal Sheridan is now coaching the Limerick college, whilst captain of that 2008 Senior Cup win, Darragh Frawley, is also on the coaching ticket and with these two at the helm it could prove to be a successful for year for a school that hasn’t really lived up to expectation since their last Cup win in 2013 when the Junior side won it for the second time in their history.

The Cork school are looking to retain the title they won last year on St. Patrick’s day when they beat Glenstal and in doing so would go one clear of their arch rivals CBC on a total of 30 Senior Cup wins, the most by a Munster school ever. They have a number of players returning from thar winning side this season, and with that kind of experience, as well as the hunger to retain it this year, they could cause a lot of side’s problem’s again this year.

St. Munchins College V Bandon Grammar, 18th January, Bandon RFC. (Kick Off 2:30pm)

Fo the third successive year St. Munchins College and Bandon Grammar school will meet in the munster Senior Cup. On the last two occasions the relatively unknown, in terms of schools rugby, Cork side have come out on top against the five time winners from Corbally.

Dave Quinlan is at the helm again for the Limerick side, who last won the competition in 2006, when a certain Keith Earls ran the full length of the pitch at the old Thomond Park to secure his side’s fifth title, and with his experience in both playing and coaching will make his side a tough task for any side.

Bandon, former hunting ground of another Munster winger, Darren Sweetnam, are quite new tot the tournament having qualified in 2016 and not looked back, even reaching the semi-final stage last year but eventually being defeated by PBC, who went on to be crowned champions. An intriguing fixture is in store for this clash with Quinlan’s side seeking revenge for the last couple of years, whilst the Cork outfit will be hoping for a memorable three in a row.

Glenstal Abbey V Rockwell College, 17th January, UL 4G Pitch. (Kick Off 2:30pm)

Glenstal Abbey take on fellow border’s Rockwell College in the opening round of the Senior cup this season with both side’s looking to improve on what they accomplished last time out. Glenstal made it to the final for the first time in their history last year but fell just short losing out to a very good PBC side 11-3 on a wet and miserable St.Patricks day in Thomond Park.

This year, the County Limerick school are led by Sean Skehan, Tom Hayes and Kelvin Brown, with the latter two involved in the Shannon side that are flying high in Division 1b at the moment and with a final appearance under their belt, as well as an experienced coaching ticket they are sure to be a force to be reckoned with again this time out.

The County Tipperary school led by the ever present Mark Butler, will be looking to make a mends for last years 18-0 defeat at the hands of their upcoming opponents in the quarter finals last season but already have gotten one up winning the city cup back in October defeating Skehan’s side 29-22 in a thrilling final. Another fixture to look out for with Munster representative players littered across both squads, but with that cup win already in the bag, Rockwell look the favourites for this one.


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