FIXTURES: Monday 28th March 2005 Crosshaven v Cork Constitution, Musgrave Park, 2.30pm Nenagh Ormond v UCC, Thomond Park, 2.30pm
Next weekend sees the semi finals of the Munster Junior Cup take place, with defending champions Nenagh Ormond set to face UCC in Thomond Park, while Crosshaven and Cork Constitution meet in Musgrave Park on Monday.
Fresh from claiming the Munster Junior League First Division title on Sunday where they beat Cobh Pirates 14-9, Nenagh Ormond will be fired up to defend their Junior Cup title. Having disposed of Young Munster, Highfield and Dolphin in earlier rounds, the Tipperary side will once again look to their two talented kickers, Liam Delaney at full back and out half John Keenan to give them the edge. Other key players include centre Trevor Powell and prop Michael Slattery.
UCC face the daunting task of taking on the defending champions, who will be hard to unseat given their excellent current form. However, the college are sure to put it up the Nenagh Ormond, and coming on the back of some strong results against very tough opposition in the competition to date, it s sure to be a hotly contested battle. UCC beat Kilfeacle 22-27 in the quarter final, and also had comprehensive victories over Skibbereen, Midleton and Dungarvan in earlier rounds. Having not won a Munster Junior Cup title since 1979, the college will be relying on prolific scorer Michael Essex and talented kicker Gareth Williams to lead the way.
In the other half of the draw, Crosshaven will face Cork Constitution at Musgrave Park. Crosshaven will be relying on their outstanding kicker Ritchie Daly to control the game, as he has done in their earlier Cup rounds encounters with Clanwilliam, Shannon, Tralee and Muskerry. Despite a 16-3 win over Clanwilliam in the quarter final, Crosshaven came through two tight games in earlier rounds, beating Shannon 17-15 in Round 3 and Tralee 13-11 in Round 2.
The 2003 champions, Cork Constitution, will have to overcome a determined Crosshaven side if they want to contest the final. Having come through a cracking quarter final clash with Garryowen, which they won 23-13 in extra time, they will certainly be tough opposition for Crosshaven. They disposed of Thomond, Ballincollig and Cobh Pirates in earlier rounds. One of the most keening contested battles of this game will be between Crosshaven s kicker Richie Daly and Cork Constitution s Darragh Lyons, both play makers and central to their teams successes. Others to watch out for include captain Dave O Brien, and Niall Keanneally who scored two tries in the win over Garryowen.