MUNSTER JUNIOR PLATE REACHES LATTER STAGES
The Munster Junior Plate continues next weekend, with Muskerry and Ennis contesting the first semi final on Sunday in what promises to be an exciting clash. At the same time, the last quarter final will be decided when Cashel play host to Bruff. With the winners scheduled to face Cobh Pirates on April 10th in the second semi final, Sunday s game is likely to be hotly contested.
Ennis will travel to Muskerry in their bid to advance to the Plate Final. Having being given a walkover from Galbally in the first round of the Junior Cup, and beaten by Shannon 21-13 in the second round, they went on to compete in the Plate and had a narrow 8-5 victory over Old Crescent in the second round. They played St. Mary s at home in the quarter final and won a tight score line of 26-25. Ennis will be relying on captain Niall McGann on the wing to lead the team on Sunday, with the Murphy brothers spearheading their attack from the back line. With such experienced players as Ronan O Brien at wing forward and Nigel Moloney in second row key to their pack, Ennis will be aiming for a solid performance.
Muskerry have advanced through the Plate with some determined performances, picking up good wins away from home. Having been beaten by Crosshaven in the Junior Cup, Muskerry had a decisive 16-0 win over Killarney in the first round of the Plate. They knocked out Sunday s Well in the next round with a 12-13 result. Clonmel were their opponents in the quarter final, and Muskerry clinched their place in the semi final with a 7-16 win away from home. With players such as scrum half Ian O Sullivan, out half Denis O Leary and captain Will O Brien leading the attack, Muskerry are sure to prove tough opponents to the visitors, and will be confident of a strong performance.
The last quarter final also takes place this weekend, with Cashel and Bruff meeting to win a semi final place against Nenagh Ormond in the semi final. Cashel will be hoping to add another piece of silverware to the cabinet after winning their first ever provincial title by beating Nenagh Ormond in the final of the Munster Junior Clubs Cup earlier this year. They beat Thurles on a 25-15 margin in the first round of the Plate, and went on to dispose of St. Senan s in the second round by 35-14. Key to their success has been the influence of such players as full back Pat O Connor and Edmond Leamy in the back row, both Munster Juniors. Prop Timmy Moloney and stalwart Pat O Donoghue in the second row lend experience to the side.
Having never won a Munster Junior Cup or Junior Plate title, Bruff are determined to go all the way this year. Having been beaten by UL Bohemian s in the Munster Junior Cup, Bruff notched up 31 points in their second round win over Presentation without conceding any points in that game. Captain Joe Power at second row leads the team, while the rest of the powerful pack is made up of such key players as wing forward John Stephen Shine, prop Stephen Deady and Sean Danagher in second row. Niall McCarthy at scrum half will take the field without twin brother Donagh who is injured, and normally plays at full back. One of their exciting prospects is U.20 s player John Malone, the younger brother of Peter Malone, captain of Garryowen, who has made a big impression on this side.