and Richmond Captain Mike Kelliher
Kanturk Captain Dan McCabe and Richmond Captain Mike Kelliher
Challenge Cup Final Preview: Kanturk v Richmond
2 February 2013, 1:10 pm
By Stephen Collins
This Saturday sees Junior 1 League leaders Richmond take on 2nd place Kanturk and the last time these sides met Kanturk spoiled the champions winning run in the league with a 21-14 victory at home.
Now just 3 points separate the sides in the league but their attention has shifted to the Junior Challenge Cup final, both sides had to endure away wins and snuff out possible upsets on the way to the final.

Richmond found themselves away for 2 out of 3 games, a hard fought battle on the hill in Kilfeacle kicked off their cup run followed by a long trip to the south east against Waterpark. All square at half time the canal bank side threw everything at a committed defence, 3 penalty attempts and a drop goal all had failed to secure the lead, with time up Waterpark conceded a penalty wide and left of the posts which Stephen Clancy converted giving Richmond the win.

The semi final saw them see off St Senans challenge 36-16 at home securing their place in the final.
Kanturk had an all Cork affair leading up to the final, a difficult win away from home against Cobh Pirates started their campaign, shipping early scores the turks rallied and Interpro winger Peter Earlie scored a late try to seal the win. Old Christians provided the opposition in the semi final just before the Christmas break with the turks cruising to a 21-10 win.

The clubs have met just twice since Kanturk promotion to the top division. In their inaugural division 1 game they travelled to the canal bank leaving with a losing bonus point, the final score 24-17. Their second meeting saw the result reversed with Richmond picking up a losing bonus point in Knocknacolan last December.

Kanturk Director of Rugby Michael Murphy is not taking the win as an indicator for this weekend however, "Richmond are a quality side and have obviously been the province's most consistent performers this season. There was nothing between the teams in December in the league and Saturday's game should not be any different."

Michael is in his first year with the club as Director of Rugby and knows how important this final is to the club "We are fully aware of the size of the task that we face and will have to be at our very best Saturday. It is a big game for the club and one we are looking forward to."

Richmond Captain Mike Kelliher is also looking forward to the match Sunday and fully aware of the dangers Kanturk pose "It's an excellent achievement for the club to be in the Challenge cup final for the second year in a row, we are looking forward to the task that lies ahead against a strong Kanturk team."

Kelliher returned to the club this year after a very successful stint with senior side Young Munster, his natural ability made him a stand out player in the Ulster Bank League which saw him selected for the International Club side for 2012.

Both squads can call on a wide range of scoring talent, Brian Mullins for Richmond and Daragh Meade for Kanturk will go head to head from the tee, Mullins has the edge in the league top scorers table with 92 points to 89 but Meade has scored 135 to Mullins 110 in all competitions.

Outside the stand off the centres will play a key role in the result, Kanturk's Luke McCabe and Richmond's Mike Kelliher have both been in try scoring form this year with 5 and 6 respectively in the league.

The pack will be an intresting battle also with some of the league's inform players squaring off, Pat Humphreys (Hooker), Johnathan Tully (2nd row) and Gearoid Phelan (backrow) from Richmond offer high intensity rugby across the park but will have their hands full against Kanturk Captain Dan McCabe at 8, Barra Buckley at flanker and tighthead Bryan O'Neill.

All these players will bring their very best this Saturday in what promises to be an exciting final, too close to call between the 2 premier Junior sides in Munster and not to be missed.

Venue: Corbally, Limerick (St Marys RFC), Kick off: 2pm

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