Wednesday 25 April 2018

Cup rivals can't be separated

Leinster Club Rugby

Fourteen games in total were played over the weekend as a couple of games were deferred a week and there was certainly plenty of excitement with two ties ending in draws, resulting in replays this coming Sunday. Stock image
Fourteen games in total were played over the weekend as a couple of games were deferred a week and there was certainly plenty of excitement with two ties ending in draws, resulting in replays this coming Sunday. Stock image

Dermot O'Mahony

On a light club rugby weekend throughout Leinster it was the opening round of the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Seconds Cup that took centre stage with 32 teams going to the line.

Fourteen games in total were played over the weekend as a couple of games were deferred a week and there was certainly plenty of excitement with two ties ending in draws, resulting in replays this coming Sunday.

Extra-time failed to separate Co Carlow and Gorey who drew 15-15 at the Carlow town venue of Oak Park, while at Mill Road home side Dundalk and Swords managed to score a try apiece when they played the additional 20 minutes but still remained deadlocked 20-20 at the end.

Holders Enniscorthy, who are seeking three Provincial Towns Seconds Cup wins in a row, were at home in Ross Road to last year's beaten finalists Birr and the Co Wexford side prevailed again, this time on 24-18 scoreline but their predecessors Ashbourne, winners in 2014, are out after losing 15-3 away in Black Gates against Tullow.

Along with the two replays the deferred Seconds Cup games are Ratoath v Balbriggan and North Meath v Kilkenny, so by Sunday evening a clear picture should have emerged of the eight second round ties which are scheduled for Sunday, February 26.

The U-20 JP Fanagan Premier 1 is always a high quality competition that provides a platform for the best emerging talent in the province and with four games left Lansdowne enjoy a five-point lead over Dublin University.

On Sunday, the leaders will be expected to return from their visit to Templeville Road with a maximum haul from their encounter against St Mary's College, while Dublin University welcome Blackrock to College Park.

There is a competition within the competition as the top four finishers qualify for the Fraser McMullen All-Ireland U20 Trophy and the teams locked together in fourth place, Navan and Terenure College, go head to head at the Meath club's home in Balreask Old.

Third-placed UCD are at home in Belfield to Clontarf, the northsiders still harbouring outside hopes of a Fraser McMullen spot.

A mere six points separates the top four teams in Division 1 of the Metro League with Terenure College leading on 37 points, two ahead of UCD with Lansdowne a further point in arrears and Old Belvedere in fourth place.

Terenure College are defending the title they won last season and they travel to Anglesea Road on Sunday to play Old Belvedere in a big game for both sides as they each strive to make the season-ending Division 1 final between the top two finishers.

Second-placed UCD welcome St Mary's to Belfield, while Lansdowne are at home in Lansdowne Road against Clontarf.

Irish Independent

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