Schools and clubs offer thrills as Pro12 on hold
Despite the fact that Munster's Pro side aren't due to play until their trip to Zebre on Saturday, March 25, that doesn't mean there's a lack of rugby around the province during the month.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth, with the Schools finals double-header on Friday in Limerick and two fascinating games in Cork in the next seven days.
After the schools finals, attention will turn to Temple Hill on the southside of the Lee, as Ireland Clubs host their English county counterparts in the latest club international.
It's a proud tradition, bestowed most recently on Temple Hill last year when the Irish clubs narrowly lost out on the Dalriada Cup 19-13 at the Cork venue.
That evening saw local boys Max Abbott and Ger Sweeney start, joined by Garryowen's James McInerney and Neil Cronin, while Dolphin's John Fitzgerald came off the bench.
There's sure to be further Munster representation in the latest edition, which kicks off at 7.30 on St Patrick's Day, when the Irish take on the English Counties.
Tickets are €10 for adults, and €5 for juveniles and students.
That's not the only international action in Cork this week, as the Japanese High School side face a Munster underage side at Irish Independent Park - that game kicks off in Ballyphehane at 6.0pm.
Munster men go back to school
Two more schools in Limerick enjoyed visits by Munster players in recent weeks, as Mike Sherry and Mark Chisholm met with children at St John's National School, while Duncan Casey and Sean McCarthy dropped in to Castletroy College.
Sherry and Chisholm sat with the kids and answered all of their questions about playing rugby for the province, while also brushing up on their art skills.
Each pupil in the class lined up and got an autograph from both players. At break time Mike and Mark helped out in the yard, where young pupils were delighted to interact with them.
After getting stuck into classwork with the second and third class boys and girls, they went up to fifth and sixth class, where they were asked a number of interesting questions by the students, keen to learn more about the lads and their lives as rugby players for Munster.
At Castletroy College, Casey and McCarthy spoke to younger classes there.
The session was kindly facilitated by Declan English for the Q&A session in the school gym.
PBC chase CBC record
St Patrick's Day continues to be a highlight in the domestic calendar, and Thomond Park will take centre stage once again for the Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup final between Glenstal Abbey and Presentation Brothers College.
Next Friday's game will be huge for Glenstal, their first since 1970, having been beaten by Rockwell College after a replay 47 years ago, as the Murroe school chase their maiden senior crown.
It's a big game for Pres too, as the Mardyke outfit aim to go back level with their city rivals Christian Brothers College on 29 titles - CBC beat Crescent 9-8 to win last year's competition.
Both of last week's semi-finals were cracker, and the decider promises to provide more thrills - it kicks off at 4.0, live on eir Sport.
On Wednesday, PBC took on Bandon Grammar School, playing in their first semi-final. Pres took the lead after the break, as Sean French's audacious chip and chase from close range saw him dive over the line.
Captain Jack O'Sullivan bulldozed over the line to seal the tie for the Mardyke outfit, who found out their final opponents the following day.
Glenstal raced into a 21-0 lead after as many minutes against Ardscoil Rís, with three beautifully crafted tries finished by Jack O'Mahony, George Dowling, and Luke Fitzgerald leaving the city side in a spin. Ardscoil refused to be pushed out however, and after Alex O'Callaghan fought his way over the line, the 'visitors' sensed a comeback.
Little by little they whittled away the Glenstal lead, and after Colin Slater touched down having charged down a kick, the margin was reduced to a single point. However, Evan Cusack's late drop-goal was blocked down, and Glenstal survived.
- Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup final: Glenstal Abbey v Presentation Brothers College - Friday, March 17, Thomond Park, 4.0 - Live on eir Sport