Sunday 5th February 2006
Kick off 3pm
This season marks a milestone in the history of rugby in Munster, with the 2005/6 Munster Senior Challenge Cup final due to be played on Sunday next -120 years after the very first Munster Senior Challenge Cup final was played. AIL Division One leaders Shannon are aiming for a record seventh title in a row, and their 18th title in all when they travel to Musgrave Park to play Dolphin, who are in third place in the AIL Division Two. Dolphin will make their first appearance in a Munster Senior Cup final in 30 years, having last appeared in 1976 and losing out to UCC 13-10 on that occasion.
Shannon came through the early rounds with comprehensive wins over UCC and Midleton and were drawn against old rivals Garryowen in what proved to be a cracking semi final in Thomond Park- in a repeat of last year s final. An injury time penalty from Dave Delaney snatched the victory from Garryowen, with Shannon edging through on a 16-14 score line. Dolphin progressed through the competition with wins over Bruff and Clonakilty. In the semi final, Dolphin hosted Junior side Cashel at Musgrave Park after the Tipperary side had enjoyed a sparkling run in the competition. However, a rampant Dolphin put an end to Cashel s hopes, with the Cork side notching up 35 points to Cashel s 3 points.
The competition kicked off in September with a record seventeen clubs involved in the first round. There were early exits for Sunday s Well, Highfield, Bruff, UCC, Thomond, Nenagh Ormond and Old Crescent, while in Round Two Clonakilty, Midleton, Waterpark, Young Munster and UL Bohemian ended their title hopes. This year, for the first time, the All Ireland Cup was introduced, with teams from all four provinces vying for the honour of winning the competition in its inaugural year. While Munster was represented in the competition by five AIL League competing teams, with the results of the Second Round of the ODM Munster Senior Challenge Cup determining the five teams going forward, only Garryowen and Cork Constitution remain in that competition, which is at quarter final stage.
Sponsors of the 2005/6 Senior Challenge Cup, ODM Accountants, North Main Street, Bandon, Co. Cork, are long standing supporters of Munster Rugby. They have close links with local club Bandon RFC. All three partners, Niall O Driscoll, Immediate Past President of the Munster Branch, his brother Gear id O Driscoll and Dan Murphy are all members of the West Cork club, one of the oldest in the province at 124 years this season. The Munster Senior Challenge Cup has a particular place in the hearts of all those involved in Bandon RFC, as the club won the very first Munster Senior Challenge Cup in 1886, defeating Garryowen one try to nil after a replay. Frank Levis, a driving force behind Bandon RFC in the early days scored the only try of the game. It was a momentous victory for the club, and according to John Merwick, in his comprehensive history of the club published in 1982, following this famous victory there was great celebration and some of them did not arrive home for a week.
Niall O Driscoll is delighted to be involved in the competition. He says The Munster Senior Challenge Cup was always the premier competition run by the Munster Branch. Since the A.I.L. League and the dawn of professionalism, this once great competition is no longer the heartbeat of Munster Rugby. In sponsoring the Senior Challenge Cup in 2005/06, the inaugural year of the All Ireland Senior Cup, it is hoped that the crowds will come back to support their local heroes.
ODM MUNSTER SENIOR CHALLENGE CUP
ROUND 1 RESULTS
Saturday 24th September 2005
Cashel 29 Sunday s Well 20
Dolphin 28 Bruff 15
Midleton 31 Highfield 7
Shannon 62 UCC 13
UL Bohemian 18 Thomond 12
Young Munster 29 Nenagh Ormond 8
Cork Constitution31 Old Crescent17
BYES: Clonakilty, Waterpark, Garryowen
ROUND 2 RESULTS
Saturday 8th October 2005
Clonakilty 18 Dolphin 19
Midleton 10 Shannon 41
Waterpark 10 Cashel 25
Young Munster 3 Garryowen 14
October 15th- Cork Constitution 23 UL Bohemian 21
Saturday 26th November 2005
Garryowen 15 Cork Constitution 10
Garryowen 16-14 Shannon
Dolphin 35-3 Cashel
Sunday 5th February 2006
Dolphin v Shannon, Musgrave Park, 3pm