Irish Colleges Rugby Union DIVISION ONE FINAL Cork Institute of Technology v Limerick Institute of Technology Wednesday 20th April 2005, Musgrave Park, 6.30pm
Irish Colleges Rugby Union DIVISION TWO FINAL Royal College of Surgeons v Galway Mayo Institute Wednesday 20th April 2005, Sunday s Well Rugby Club, 4pm
Two Munster colleges will contest the ICRU Division One final on Wednesday next in Musgrave Park. Limerick Institute of Technology haven t won the title since 1999, after a successful defence of the title first won the previous year, and are now hoping to notch up their third title in the competition s nineteen year existence. For Cork Institute of Technology, the wait has been even longer, with the college yet to claim a Division One title, despite having been involved in the semi final and final stage on numerous occasions, and winning the Division Two competition in 1991, 1995 and 2002. This year s winners will inscribe their name onto a new cup as Athlone Institute of Technology, who were this year beaten in the semi final, were allowed hold onto the Division 1 ICRU cup after winning it for the last three years. The cup was retired to mark a phenomenal achievement by the Athlone club and they will hope to be back competing for honours again very soon, with their Freshers (u 20) team in the O Boyle Cup final this year.
When the sides met in the league this year, the result was as close as it could be, with CIT emerging on the winning end of an 18-15 score line. Both teams came through very tough semi finals, with LIT defeating Waterford Institute of Technology 8-0, and CIT ending Athlone Institute of Technology s hopes of a title with a 12-8 win. LIT opened their league campaign with a 31-15 win over the Garda College, they had a comprehensive 20-0 win over Athlone Institute of Technology, went down 18-10 to Tallaght Institute of Technology and came back with a 22-3 win over the University of Limerick. CIT s league campaign started with a 52-17 victory over the University of Limerick, they went on to have wins over LIT and the Garda College and only lost to Waterford Institute of Technology on a narrow 20-17 margin.
Under the expertise of coaches John Staunton, the Garryowen Senior and ex-LIT student, Donnacha McNamara, and player/coach Thomas Cronin, LIT have an impressive calibre of players, many fresh from AIL action over the weekend. Although Captain John Morrissey has been unable to compete in the latter stages after sustaining an injury in their league game against AIT, there are plenty of experienced players lending quality to the side. Old Crescent team mates Phil O Connor and Darragh McDonagh give the pack plenty of punch, while player/coach Thomas Cronin at scrum half is a Young Munster stalwart. Add to the mix winger Derek Corcoran, formerly of Nenagh Ormond and now also with Young Munster who is one of Munster s up and coming young talents. Centre Paul Dillon was named Man of the Match in their semi final against WIT, and he plays Senior rugby with Clonakilty RFC, the son of Clonakilty s President Kevin Dillon. Joining him from Clonakilty is Michael O Hea, who has deputised for the injured captain.
CIT have plenty of depth in their squad, and can also boast a number of Senior players, with the likes of Cork Constitution s full back Peter O Brien and a number of UCC s finest on the side. UCC s Paul Hurley plays on the wing, while CIT s captain Tim Ryan was Man of the Match in the semi final against AIT, and is central to the UCC senior side. UCC out half Jeremy Manning and centre Mike Kingsbeer add strength to the back line. Andrew Finn plays Senior rugby for Garryowen, while from Highfield Seniors, prop Dave Ryan, Maurice Power in the back row and out half Colin Mahony also feature. John Kerins was a member of last year s U19 World Championship squad, while Michael Essex is a member of the Munster Development squad. In second row, James Frahill has been superb for Junior Division One finalists Cobh Pirates all season, as has scrum half Ruairi Geary. Rugby at CIT has come on leaps and bounds over the last number of years, with the college proud to claim three Lions among their past players. Donnacha O Callaghan recently became the third Lion to attend the college, along with brothers David and Richard Wallace. Currently, CIT winger Eric Moloney is in South Africa with the U19 squad. The college also boasts Denis Leamy as a former player, with Frank Murphy recently bursting onto the Munster team also.
The meeting of these two teams is likely to be a thrilling affair, given their previous close encounter, and with the depth of talent on display, it should be a mid week feast for all rugby fans.