Cork derbies take centre stage in Clubs Underage deciders
The Bank of Ireland Munster Clubs Underage competition finals kick into action this weekend and into next week, as the U18 Bowl and U16 Plate and Bowl are up for grabs, all Cork derbies at Irish Independent Park.
The action begins tonight at the Ballyphehane venue, as Bandon, despite travelling to the home of Dolphin, will actually hold 'home' advantage in the draw as they face the city side in the U16 Bowl final at 6.30pm.
The Old Chapel outfit were fortunate enough to have home advantage in the quarter-final, where they comfortably overcame Waterford City on a 20-8 scoreline. Last season's U16 Cup finalists then faced Fermoy at Rathcooney, where they ran in 36 points on the way to a 29-point drubbing of Fermoy.
Dolphin's road to the final hasn't been as comprehensive, but they'll be backing themselves this evening regardless, playing at their home venue. They edged a tight encounter at home to Carrick-on-Suir in the quarter-finals 12-10, and in Fermoy on March 11 defeated Kilfeacle & District 21-12 to get to the final stage.
Both sides have been scoring plenty of points however, so expect an attacking final this evening.
In the Plate, it's an all-city clash as senior clubs Cork Constitution face Sunday's Well on Monday evening at 6.15.
Con's seniors have already tasted victory at Irish Independent Park, defeating Young Munster in the Munster Senior Challenge Cup last month, and their U16s will be hoping to emulate that success, having already beaten Abbeyfeale 17-3, and Nenagh Ormond 21-7 to reach the final.
Standing in their way are Sunday's Well, who were one of the few away teams to win their quarter-final clash across the competitions this season, defeating Clonakilty 27-8 in a stunning performance. The next tie was much closer to home; Tanner Park in Ballincollig the venue as they defeated Highfield 15-7.
The U18 grade also sees its first competition come to a close next Wednesday, in an intriguing tie with Crosshaven taking on Old Christians, also at 6.15pm.
Both teams had comfortable home victories in the quarter-finals, with Crosshaven powering past Killarney 32-0 in Camden, while Old Christians made light work of Cashel with a 27-7 victory at Rathcooney.
The 'Haven enjoyed victory by the same scoreline against Highfield in the semi-final played at Ballincollig, but a nailbiting conclusion to Old Christians' semi-final at Cobh saw the Northsiders hold out against Youghal, 17-16.
Admission for all of these games is €5 for adults and €3 for juveniles.
Blitz days a roaring success
The Munster Emerging Schools Programme continued this week with a busy schedule throughout the province. The programme includes four rounds of 11-a-side blitz days in eight different conferences.
The top two from each conference qualify for the final days, which are scheduled to take place in Irish Independent Park on April 26 and Thomond Park on April 27.
The latest of these for the west Cork conferences took place this week in Skibbereen RFC, with the hosts Skibbereen Community School and Schull Community College qualifying for the finals.
Community rugby officer Ray Gadsden said on the blitz's completion: "This format has given players an opportunity to experience the game in a competitive environment.
"Following on from this we have seen new players coming into the club scene which has helped increase numbers and give more players more rugby.
"The quality of the rugby has improved from blitz to blitz."