Michael's face tricky start to title defence
Published 11/12/2012 | 05:00
St Michael's will begin their defence of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup with a tough examination against narrowly beaten league semi-finalists Castleknock College.
Traditional heavyweights Belvedere and pre-tournament favourites Terenure have been pitted against each other in what looks the tie of the first round.
Blackrock's tilt with league finalists Gonzaga is another mouthwatering collision.
Under the newly established format, the draw for each successive round will be made after the previous series has been completed.
Two from Wesley, St Andrew's and St Gerard's will be fancied to make it through to the final of the Vinnie Murray Cup and, by extension, to the senior competition proper.
St Andrew's will begin the defence of the Fr Godfrey Cup against St Patrick's Navan, while holders St Michael's will take on Clongowes in the standout tie in the Leinster Junior Cup.
Meanwhile, in Munster holders Rockwell College (6-5 winners over St Munchin's in the 2012 final) take on 2010 and 2011 Junior Cup winners in Crescent College in the most intriguing clash of the preliminary rounds.
The winner of that tie will probably face Castletroy College in the second qualifying round, while the losers seem destined to face the might of CBC.
The Cork giants face a preliminary qualifier against the 'B' school Mungret Cup winner – likely to be one from Bandon Grammar, Newtown School or Midleton College.
In the Junior competition, holders Christians do battle with Ardscoil Ris in a repeat of last year's final, which was won by the Cork school 18-6.
Limerick's Ardscoil Ris have made the last two finals at this level and appeared in an impressive five deciders since the turn of the century, winning two.
The draw for the Connacht Schools Senior Cup has yet to be made.
In the Junior competition, for which league finalists Marist Athlone and Sligo Grammar will be the favourites, there will be a Champions League-style experiment comprising three pools of three for the first time.
In Ulster, the long-standing rolling draw (similar to that in Leinster) is only at the second-round stage, with the traditionally stronger schools yet to come on board.
Methodist College Belfast will defend both Senior and Junior (Medallion) titles, having completed yet another double in 2012.