Thursday 18 January 2018

Depleted Young Munster look to upset the odds

'Earlier this week, Young Munster voiced their disgust after four of their players started for Munster A last night, ruling them out of contention for their semi-final against Clontarf.' (Stock picture)
'Earlier this week, Young Munster voiced their disgust after four of their players started for Munster A last night, ruling them out of contention for their semi-final against Clontarf.' (Stock picture)
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

This biggest weekend to date in the club calender has unfortunately been overshadowed by the fixture clashes that will certainly detract from tomorrow's AIL play-offs.

Earlier this week, Young Munster voiced their disgust after four of their players started for Munster A last night, ruling them out of contention for their semi-final against Clontarf.

At the same time the defending champions 'Tarf host the Cookies at Castle Avenue, across the city Lansdowne, who finished top of the table, welcome Cork Con to the Aviva Stadium, Leinster are in action in the Champions Cup, meaning the crowds at both games are likely to be below what they would normally be.

While Young Munster have to accept that they will not be at full strength, they must find a way to channel that frustration in the right manner against a 'Tarf outfit who will fancy their chances of making it back to the Aviva decider.

While the four semi-finalists were comfortably the best teams in the top flight, just a point separated the Limerick side from the other three, who all finished ahead, level on points.

The experienced Matt D'Arcy will once again be crucial in the centre while out-half David Joyce has been in fine form this season.

Young Munster will hope to have Ireland U-20 stars Calvin Nash and Fineen Wycherley available but due to their B&I Cup commitments last night, they will not know if they are available to them until today.

If Young Munster are to have any hope of overturning Andy Wood's side, they will need a huge performance from their pack.

Lansdowne finished the season with a thumping win over Garryowen and in Scott Deasy they have one of the best players in the league.

Plenty of Mike Ruddock's side have been around the block but they have a good balance in their team and hooker Tadhg McElroy is another Ireland U-20 star who has had a fine campaign.

Their opponents Con haven't won the league since 2010 and they will be looking for inspiration from the likes of former Munster lock Brian Hayes who recently returned from a spell in France.

Out-half Tomas Quinlan is a quality operator, while having Ned Hodson outside of him will give Con plenty of options on the ball.

Elsewhere this afternoon, Naas will look to keep alive their hopes of sealing yet another promotion when they host UL Bohs.

Johnny Murphy's side have been flying this season but face stiff opposition in Bohs, who have their own sights set on returning to the top flight.

Garryowen are looking to avoid the drop as they host Old Wesley in the second promotion play-off.

Irish Independent

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