Waterpark clash will be a double delight for fans - Daly
Published 19/02/2016 | 02:30
The Bank Of Ireland Munster U-18 and U-16 Clubs competitions have reached the quarter-final stage with all eight fixtures scheduled to take place on the weekend of February 27 and 28.
The draw for the last eight has been decided, with defending U-18 champions Newcastle West/Estuary hosting Waterpark
To add to the excitement, Newcastle West/Estuary were also drawn to host Waterpark in the U-16 quarter final, and both fixtures will take place on the same day in a double-header.
As the county Limerick side set out to retain their U-18 title, Waterpark will be vying for hat-trick of U-16 successes.
And Newcastle West/Estuary youth officer Pat Daly says the double-header has the makings of a mouth-watering occasion for all involved in age grade rugby.
"Waterpark will be odds on favourites to make the final so it will be a tough battle for Newcastle West/Estuary in both the U-18s and U-16s," he said.
"They are very strong every year but we'll rise to the challenge as best we can and hopefully we can win both encounters.
"It makes for a very interesting quarter-final in both competitions, as the two sides are defending their respective U-16 and U-18 titles, which will definitely add to the occasion and most certainly be a crowd pleaser.
"Both clubs will bring huge support."
With a two in a row in mind, the experienced Newcastle West/Estuary U-18 outfit has retained half of its squad that competed last year, including Jason Wolfe, who captains the side for his second time.
"About 50pc of our players have been retained from last year, including Jason, with the remainder that have come up from our U-16s," said Daly.
"The core squad would be quite experienced and hopefully that will pay dividends this year."
As Newcastle West/Estuary concentrate on the development of their underage structure, Daly said the key to their ongoing success at youth level has been providing as much game time as possible with an overall objective of the players progressing to U-20 level and eventually feeding into their senior side.
"We've about 25 U-18s constantly training with us so our main challenge is to retain those players at U-20 level and eventually feed into adult rugby," he said.
"The big thing for the coaches is to get the lads out playing matches as much as possible so even on the weekends that there are no competitive fixtures, they organise friendlies to give them as much game-time as possible.
"We believe that once you provide matches for players they learn a lot more and you can rotate the squad so every player gets a game and feels part of the squad."
"The common denominator over the last few years for our success has also been the quality of our coaches. Training is twice a week on our all-weather pitch for both squad with matches on the weekend so things are pretty intense and I must credit all the coaches - Tom Fox and Conor Magner at U-18s and Vincent O'Doherty, Philip Wrenn and Mike Lyons at U-16s - for their commitment in getting the players well prepared for the quarter finals."
Following Newcastle West's amalgamation at youths level with neighbouring Estuary RFC three seasons ago, Daly acknowledges the success of the initiative.
"Estuary were short numbers for teams after mini rugby which resulted in players giving up rugby," he said.
"I met with the Estuary guys three years ago and asked if they were interested in joining up at age grade and that's where the amalgamation began.
"We have about 10pc of Estuary players down through all the age groups at this stage with a lot of their coaches helping out with coaching, organising matches and looking after medical requirements on match day"
The new format for the Munster U-18 and U-16 Clubs competitions has been highly successful - focused primarily on providing approximately nine competitive fixtures for all teams at the group stages.
"It has been highly successful and all credit to Ralph (O'Leary, competition fixtures secretary) for all his work," said Daly. "It's been great for us to make the knockout stages in both age grades, and hopefully this year the two sides will go all the way."
Bank of Ireland Munster U-18 Cup Quarter-Final
Bruff v Skibbereen, Dolphin v Shannon/Mallow/Sunday's Well, Dungarvan v Midleton/Muskerry/Cashel, Newcastle West v Waterpark
Bank of Ireland Munster U-16 Cup Quarter-Final
Bandon v Cork Constitution, Bruff v Midleton, Newcastle West/Estuary v Waterpark, Ennis v Skibbereen/Nenagh Ormond
Ties to be played weekend of February 27/28