Young stars can bank on success of new Clubs Competition
The province-wide club competition at U-16 and U-18 level is an exciting new venture for the game in Munster.
The competition builds and expands on the success of the Pan Munster Clubs U-16 and U-18 competitions of recent years.
Munster Rugby President, Bertie Smith, Munster players Jack O'Donoghue, Mike Sherry and David Kilcoyne, along with representatives of the Munster Youths Committee, gathered in Thomond Park Stadium last night to launch the Bank Of Ireland Munster U-18 and U-16 Clubs Competition.
The new playing structure is an exciting initiative designed to improve the playing experience for the player and provide increased competition at many levels across the province.
This season's competitions have been divided into two main sections - a seeding structure in the first half of the season and a full competitive section in the New Year leading into finals that are scheduled for the weekend of March 12/13, 2016.
The seeding has allowed for the grouping of clubs who are at a similar stage of player development while providing a challenge to step up by playing in a wider and more diverse pool. To date, approximately 270 games have been played with 48 teams competing at U-16 and U-18 age grade.
Clubs are currently competing in Phase 1 of Munster U-16 and U-18 age grade which started in the end of September. There are six conferences in each age group which sees the top three in each conference qualify for the Cup.
The 18 teams will be divided into three groups of six teams which implies five games for each team at group stage. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition along with two of the three third-place teams (play-off).
There will also be a Plate and Bowl competition in each age group starting in mid December where teams will also be in groups which will lead into quarter final play-offs.
Speaking at the launch, Bank Of Ireland branch manager Sean Byerley said: "We are delighted to be officially launching the BOI Munster U-18 & U-16 Clubs Competition.
"This competition brings rugby communities throughout the province together with local clubs represented by their underage sides and this partnership aligns with the values and traditions of what Bank Of Ireland represents.
"Underage rugby is so often the lifeline of clubs, developing future players in towns up and down the province and our network of 70 branches in the province is neatly placed to complement this. The sponsorship is therefore a natural fit between Bank Of Ireland and Munster Rugby.
"We look forward to another competitive and entertaining competition and would like to wish all the clubs involved every success in season 2015/16."