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Stillorgan spring Spencer Cup shock with win over Monkstown

Clubs are continuing their preparations for the upcoming All Ireland and Leinster Leagues as the Senior League Cup and Area competitions continue apace.

Teams are using these competitions to fine tune their players ahead of the more serious status-defining leagues that will stretch deep through the winter months and culminate in the spring. Both junior clubs in action in the Senior League Cup recorded wins against AIL opponents; Tullamore had a narrow 18-15 home win against Suttonians while Boyne travelled to Navan and racked up a fine 17-3 win against their North East rivals.

Despite this, Seapoint and Naas are best placed to advance from Pools 4 and 5 to the quarter-finals in a week's time, and will do so if they beat Suttonians and Navan respectively tomorrow.

The Senior League Cup is seeded according to last season's AIL finishing positions with the leading 12 teams in Pools 1, 2 and 3 and the remaining eight in Pools 4 and 5. As a consequence of this strength, the top two teams in Pools 1, 2 and 3 proceed to the last eight along with the winners of Pools 4 and 5.

In those top three pools Blackrock College would appear to be the only side assured of progression thus lending some degree of importance to all matches between now and Tuesday evening when Clontarf and UCD complete Pool 1. The most eye-catching result over the past weekend was Junior 2 club Stillorgan's impressive 37-3 win over Monkstown in the Spencer Cup.

Now before you rush out to put the house on the Sydney Parade side to be relegated from Division 1B of the Leinster League, bear in mind that they'd beaten Railway Union 16-9 on the previous Wednesday and the bulk of their 1st XV were away for the weekend on a bonding mission.

The Monkstown team that went under to Stillorgan was a pale shadow of the side that will be in league action tomorrow week.

That said, it's not too long ago that Stillorgan wouldn't have harboured any such thoughts of a comprehensive victory against a club like Monkstown and it speaks volumes for the progress made by the Bird Avenue club over the past few years. It'll be interesting to track their progress in Section "B" of the Metro J2 League this season, a Section in which they finished runners-up a year ago.

Another club forcing people to sit up and take notice is Clondalkin who have reeled off two, four-try bonus-point wins against Athy and Portlaoise in the Celtic Horizon Tours Hosie Cup. On Sunday they travel to Cill Dara, also unbeaten, with the winner advancing from Section "A" to the final. It'd be a fine feather in the cap of the progressive south County Dublin club if they could knock off their vaunted Division 1A opponents and, in the process, give themselves a major boost ahead of their Division 2 campaign.

Section "B" is wide open with Clane, Portarlington and even North Kildare in with a shout of making the decider.

Edenderry have qualified for the final of the Midland J1 League with victories over Midland Warriors and Birr, while if Mullingar win their clash in Ferbane with the West Offaly Lions on Sunday then the County Westmeath side will also advance to the ultimate stage.

In the Metro Area, Coolmine are through to the semi-finals of the Spencer Cup with the other three spots wide open.

Wicklow and Enniscorthy are the early pacesetters in the two sections that make up the South East J1 League while in the North East the McGowan Cup has been hindered by the involvement of Boyne and Navan in the Senior League Cup.