Colm Kinsella looks ahead to this year’s Munster Junior Cup competition where the Limerick schools will be looking to continue their good form of recent years.
THE Munster Schools Junior Cup has provided rich pickings for several of the Limerick sides competing in it over the past decade and the five local representatives through to the last eight stage will hope that trend can continue in 2013.
Unlike Senior Cup wins, which have been rare in recent times, the Junior Cup has come to Shannonside on five occasions over the past decade, with both Ardscoil Ris and Crescent College Comprehensive boasting a pair of wins each and Castletroy College claiming the prestigious U-16 title in 2008.
The competition kick-off in the first week of February with beaten finalists for the past two seasons, Ardscoil Ris face holders CBC, of Cork.
Ardscoil will be hoping to overturn the result of last year’s final when they suffered an 18-6 reverse at the hands of Christians.
Four members of Ardscoil’s side which reached last year’s decider are involved this time round, Pierce Lyons, Jack Sexton, Jerry McCabe and Jack O’Donnell.
The quartet’s experience will be key for the North Circular Road side as they lock horns with the holders. Ardscoil Ris boast an impressive backroom team, including Michael Fitzgibbon, of Shannon and Ireland fame, who along with current Old Crescent head coach Ger Casey and Shannon player, Paul Gleeson, act as assistants to head coach, David Collopy.
St Munchin’s College open their campaign against Rockwell College on Thursday, February 7.
It is now 14 years since the renowned Corbally nursery taste Junior Cup success, although St Munchin’s remain genuine contenders and were finalists in both 2006 and 2009.
St Munchin’s have five members of their 2012 squad available, Hugo McDonald, John Foley, Emmet O’Callaghan, Jonathan O’Hanlon and Brandon Wallace.
Several squad members boast impressive rugby pedigree, including Brian Bennett, brother of Shannon captain, Tadhg, Adam Guerin, brother of Shannon scrum-half Rob, James Burke, whose brother Ger is currently playing senior rugby with Young Munster and Jonathan O’Hanlon, whose cousin Craig also plays for Munsters in the AIL.
St Munchin’s have an impressed backroom team, with a strong Shannon influence, assembled this year, including David Quinlan, Tom Goggin, Anthony Murphy, Rob Guerin and Ger Sheehan.
St Munchin’s form in friendlies has been mixed but the Corbally side will be especially encouraged by their defeat of Terenure College.
The quarter-final, round one, games includes one derby clash, the meeting of Castletroy College and Glenstal Abbey, who tend to punch above their weight in Schools Cup competition despite their limited playing numbers.
Castletroy College have six survivors from their 2012 Junior Cup campaign available this time round, David Kennedy, David Rowsome, Conor Fleming, Mark O’Meara, Niall O’Shea and Sean McBrearty.
Rowsome and O’Shea were starters on the side last season. Castletroy are captained by impressive flanker, O’Shea.
The Newtown school’s squad includes, Colum Carroll, whose brother Enda featured at number eight in their 2008 Junior Cup winning side. Older brother Kiallian plays with the Castletroy senior side.
Hooker Mark O’Mara is a nephew of Peter Clohessy and a cousin of Noel Clohessey who is in the senior squad, while back row Domhnaill Dooley is a brother of Paul, who captained the Senior Cup winning side of 2008.
Rowsome and O’Shea are strong runners in the Castletroy pack, while centre Ronan McDonnell is a very classy operator. Sean Mc Brearty and Oisin Kelly are very good on the wing and at full-back respectively.
Exciting Glenstal Abbey player, George O’Hara is in his third year playing Junior Cup with the Murroe school, while Tim Costigan, Killian Glynn, Colm Hogan and James Enright have Junior Cup experience from last season.
The quarter-final line up was only completed this Wednesday when 2010 and 2011 winners Crescent College Comprehnsive defeated St Clement’s College in a play-off clash.
Crescent College’s prize is an away tie with PBC on the first week in February.
In running in five tries against a gritty side, which boasted previous competitive match experience, Crescent’s U-16s looked a useful bunch once again.
The side is captained by Calvin Nash, who bagged one of their tries against Clement’s, while Jack Lyons is a brother of Senior Cup squad member Gearoid who won Junior medals in 2010 and ‘11. Cian Clifford is a reliable goal-kicker landing four kicks at goal against St Clement’s last time out.
Crescent’s head coach Eddie Barry won a Munster Senior Schools Cup medal with the Dooradoyle school in 1986.
A change in the competition format, introduced in 2009, means that four the loser’s of the quarter-final, round one, ties will have a second chance to progress to the semi-finals later in the month.
The Munster Schools Junior Cup trophy honours the memory of the late Eamonn Mulcahy, a former teacher at Castletroy College, who was part of the backroom team which helped Castletroy capture the title for the first and only time in 2008.
The old cup, which was first presented in 1932, was retired to the Munster Rugby Museum in 2010.