LAST weekend was far from the most exciting of rugby weekends for the Kerry area as only two sides took to the field to enhance their ambitions of league and cup success.
Tralee and Killarney both strutted their stuff last Sunday with the former taking on Galbally in the J1 league while the latter took on Highfield in the Munster Junior Cup. Tralee have been showing they have now become a very competitive side in the top flight of the Munster junior rugby as they fight for position in the top half of the table.
Tralee's win over Galbally last weekend has put them well in the hunt for a top two finish this year as the margin between second and fifth spot has been cut to only five points and considering the Kerry men have a game in hand over the side currently in second (Kanturk) this season looks like it will have one of the most exciting finishes in years. Tralee's win last time our came thanks to a battling forward pack, great defensive work from the back line and four penalties from the boot of Dan Clarke.
The away win was hard fought and when Sean Bourke ran in for a try for the home side things began to look a little difficult for the visitors but Tralee were able to shut the game down and run out well deserving 12-5 victors.
Next up for Tralee is a home tie against Clanwilliam next Sunday. The away side are rooted to the final spot in the table and have only won once since the season began last September. A win in this one will keep Tralee at the business end of the table while a loss would undo all the great work done over the past few months.
Killarney were the other local outfit in action last weekend as they made the daunting trip to Cork city to face Highfield. This was a Munster Junior Cup tie and unfortunately it was the visitors last game in this competition for another year as they lost by 22-10. Damian Carroll bagged a try for Killarney with Paudie Sheehan adding a conversion and a penalty. This never looked like being enough, however, as the home side had tries from Fintan O'Sullivan, Richie Duggan and Jason Carton with Colm Downs adding two conversions and a penalty.
This loss, like all losses, will be hard to take for Killarney, but when they sit down and analyse their season next May it could easily be one of the best things that happened them as their league campaign will now get all the attention required to mount a successful promotion bid.
Next up for Killarney is an away league fixture at Newport next Sunday. This is likely to be a tough encounter for the visitors but one they have to overcome if they are to keep their challenge for the title on course. Newport are currently sitting ninth in the table with their main aspiration being not to get dragged into the relegation fight at the bottom.
Castleisland are also on the road next weekend as they take on Presentation in Limerick. Castleisland go into this game in third place with a game in hand on the top two sides. With a win being imperative if they are to keep pace with the teams at the top this game could be the best clash of the weekend.
Other local sides to take to the field next Sunday will be the trio of J3 sides, Killorglin, Abbeyfeale and Corca Dhuibhne. Killorglin are currently leading the league standings so they will be desperate to keep their promotion dream alive as they make the trip to Charleville.
Both Abbeyfeale and Corca have home ties this time out with the former taking on Clare side Scariff while the later face up to Waterford City. This is a second v bottom clash with the home side trying desperately to get into mid table mediocrity. Waterford will be the favourites in this game but they should be mindful that Corca are well capable of providing shock results. SUNDAY JANUARY 13 (2.30pm) Abbeyfeale v Scariff Charleville v Killorglin Corca Dhuibhne v Waterford City Presentation v Castleisland Newport v Killarney Tralee v Clanwilliam