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Saturday 19 April 2014

Kanturk exit Junior Cup earlier than expected

THE bank holiday weekend was scheduled to be a break period for all of the local junior rugby sides after a tough, physical and enjoyable opening three weeks of league season.

While league action was put on the back burner it didn't mean that there was no junior action for fans to get their teeth into as Kanturk represented the area in the All Ireland Junior Cup.

Kanturk got all the way to the semi-finals of this competition last season and had high hopes of going as far this time. However, it wasn't to be for the boys from the banks of the Allow and the Dallow as they came up against a Clogher Valley side that just weren't going to be outdone on the day.

The Tyrone side had the benefit of a home tie and made the most of this advantage in terrible weather conditions – seeing off the visitors by the narrowest of margins 10-9.

Mark Healy was the talisman for Kanturk – kicking all of the vanquished side's nine points, unfortunately Healy's accuracy from the dead ball fell just short of what was required to book a spot in the last eight of the premier national junior cup competition.

While Kanturk will be bitterly disappointed with the result in this one they were the only Munster side to go down in the round of last 16 as Tralee, Skibbereen and Kilfeacle all took the spoils in their respective ties.

Kanturk will need to move on straight away from this disappointment as they make the trip to Tipperary to face in form Clonmel. This is going to be a real test of both side's title credentials as both teams are at present in the top four – Clonmel are unbeaten with three wins from three while Kanturk have already suffered one defeat in their three games.

With no action planned in the J3 next weekend and no local sides competing in the J2 this season the only other games with a focus on the north and mid Cork areas contain Mallow and Muskerry.

It has been a difficult start to life in the J1 for both sides so far with only one win recorded between the two in their collective opening six games.

Muskerry's win last time out against Tralee could turn out to be the turning point for the mid Cork men after two difficult losses in their first two games. Muskerry will hope to make it two wins on the bounce next Sunday as they prepare to make the trip to play St Marys.

This is going to be a difficult challenge for Muskerry as St Marys have proved to be the team to beat this season and currently hold top spot in the J1 table.

While Muskerry try to make it two wins in a row, Mallow will entertain Galbally at St Joseph's road desperate to record their opening win of the season.

Mallow were pretty dominant in the J2 last season so three losses in three this year will be a very different experience for all in the green jersey.

Next Sunday's bottom two home clash against Galbally should provide Mallow with their best opportunity so far to advance up the table. If Mallow win this tie then they should find themselves elevated into the temporary security of mid table while a loss will see them rooted to the foot of the table and running the risk of getting cut adrift of the other sides in the division.

Fixtures

Sunday, November 3, 2.30pm

Clonmel v Kanturk

Mallow v Galbally

St Mary's v Muskerry

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