Weather throws a spanner in the works
Last Sunday was meant to be the final day for Munster Junior League rugby however Mother Nature decided to throw a spanner in that particular plan as most of the scheduled games that were down for decision failed to get the go ahead after a series of late pitch inspections.
One game that did go ahead was the clash between Mallow and Waterford City at the former's home ground. Mallow had wrapped up promotion three weeks ago, the title the following week and last weekend went in search of the perfect 13 and 0 season.
The boys from the Blackwater valley have been magnificent all season and were red hot favourites to dismantle a Waterford City side that really were struggling to make any inroads on the sides further up the table.
Despite the conditions, from the off Mallow took the game to the visitors and were well worth the spoils of victory. The majority of this game was played in blizzard like conditions and with hindsight there may well be questions as to whether the game should have kicked off at all. That said, Mallow weren't complaining by the finish as they cruised to a 48-3 victors, rounding off what has been one of the most successful seasons in the club's long history.
Tries in the first half from Jimmy and Owen Glynn set the champions on their way to perfection with the former adding the extras on both occasions. Second half tries from Mike O'Flynn, Conor O'Donovan, David Walsh and Sean Hannon along with a brace from another Glynn, this time Sean just added that extra bit of a cherry to a cake that already had plenty of icing.
Thirteen wins from 13 games with 10 bonus points secured. A tally of 62 points from a possible 65 marks this Mallow side as one of the best to have ever represented the club.
In the J1, the crucial game with local interest between Kanturk and St Senan's, to see who goes down to the J2 for next season, was one of those games that failed to make it to post after a heavy dusting of snow made the pitch unplayable.
The sides will finally lock horns next Saturday at 2pm with Kanturk again down as the hosts. Kanturk have to win and will also need to make sure they collect a bonus point. As if that task wasn't enough the boys from Knocknacolon will need to ensure their opponents don't gain a bonus point of their own. No small task for the boys in green.
Back in the J2, Charleville's away fixture against Thurles is now down for decision in Tipperary this Saturday afternoon. Charleville are one of the only sides in all of the grades to still have two games remaining with an away trip to Kinsale scheduled to round off their league campaign on the 24thMarch.
Wins in both of their remaining fixtures could see Charleville up to as high as third in the table however regardless of what transpires this really has been a very positive season for the men in red.
There was one other fixture in the J2 that was of interest to the rugby fans of mid Cork and that was the clash of Muskerry and Fethard at the latter's home venue. Muskerry haven't had the best of campaigns and could have easily been swallowed up at the wrong end of the table however a win in their last fixture saw them soar up to a much more credible seventh in the standings.
Adam Looney was Muskerry's hero on the day with the game's only try which was converted by Jonathan Buckley to seal what was a very important deal.
Muskerry will continue to challenge at all grades till season's end however there is little doubting that the Ballyanly boys will be looking for a little more next season when all the fun and games come around once more.
The last game with local interest that went to post last Sunday was the clash between Mitchelstown and Killarney in the Division 3 promotion play-off. Mitchelstown have been hugely impressive this season coming up just short for automatic promotion to a Tralee side that really didn't put a foot wrong - that said Mitchelstown went into the promotion playoff games with high hopes of success however last weekend their aspirations came crashing down thanks to a dogged 11-6 win for the Kingdom side.
Tries win games and on this occasion, it was Killarney that bagged the game's only major thanks to Peter Kelly's touchdown. Oisin O'Shea added what proved to be two crucial penalties as Mitchelstown managed a brace of penalties themselves from Pa McGee.
The loss sees Mitchelstown resigned to another year in division 3 however all things considered the 2018/19 season was very impressive from one of the younger sides in Munster junior rugby.
With the national side out against France next weekend there won't be many other fixtures on the cards with Fermoy's last fixture pushed out till after Patrick's Day. Fermoy will make the relatively short trip to Ballincollig on March 24.
Fermoy currently sit fourth and could conceivably finish third in the J2 table if results go their way however regardless of the outcome in their last game the north Cork side can be rightly proud of their achievements in what was a very challenging and competitive season.
A win would be the perfect end to a brilliant season for Fermoy but with Ballincollig smack bang of the middle of a relegation battle the suburban side will be a tough test away from home.
Sunday March 9
Munster Junior League Division 1
Kanturk v St Senan's
Thurles v Charleville