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Youths Pan Munster Preview

17th January 2014 By Munster Rugby

Youths Pan Munster Preview

The group stages of this season’s Munster under 16 and 18 leagues start this weekend when 16 teams at each age group play their opening fixtures across the province.

The group stages of this season’s Munster under 16 and 18 leagues start this weekend when 16 teams at each age group play their opening fixtures across the province.

By Cathal Donovan

The 16 qualifiers at each age group qualified from leagues played in their region (East, South, West and North Munster) which began in September and October and have reached a conclusion in some regions while other regions will play the finals of their leagues later in the season when time allows.

At Under 18 level the 16 teams are made up of six clubs from South Munster, four clubs from East Munster, four clubs from North Munster and two clubs representing West Munster while in the Under 16 competition there is five clubs representing South Munster, West Munster has three clubs involved while East Munster and North Munster both have four qualifier’s apiece.

In Group 1 of the Under 18 Competition Clanwilliam and Young Munster, who were both runners up at regional level, losing to Waterpark and Bruff respectively, will both be eager to drive on from those defeats and make the knockout stages however they will not find it easy against either Kinsale, who qualified for the South Munster League final with a twelve points to three victory over Cork Constitution in Temple Hill last Saturday, or one of West Munster’s two representatives in this year’s competition, Tralee.

Kinsale are making their first appearance in the Munster League at any age group since the change to the current format at the start of the 2009/2010 season while Tralee are making their second appearance at this stage of the competition at the older age group and they will be aiming to do better than their first appearance, in the 2009/2010 season, where they finished third in their group winning one game. With a South Final against Clonakilty to come as well as a Cup campaign Kinsale will want to make a big impression on the Munster League.

In Group 2 last seasons Munster under 17 champions, Clonakilty, the players from the West Cork club will be aiming for a second provincial title in as many seasons but they will not have it their own way as to qualify for the knockout stages they must over-come the challenge of the side they defeated in the semi-finals last March, Bruff, as well as Highfield and Galbally.

Highfield qualified for this stage through a playoff victory last Saturday over Youghal while Galbally qualified for the Pan Munster competition after finishing third in their group in the East Munster League before defeating Clonmel 8-7 in Clonmel in the quarter final of the League which was played at the end of November last year.

Nenagh and Old Crescent will renew acquaintances in group 3 as they again face off in the group stage like they did in last season’s Under 17 competition in a game that Old Crescent won in their run to the semi-finals. Two sides from South Munster make up the group with Cobh Pirates making their first appearance in a Pan Munster competition while it is Cork Constitution’s second year of playing at this stage of the competition (making the quarter finals at under 19 level last season in their first season of having a side reach the Pan Munster competition).

Last season’s runners up in the Munster Under 17 competition Waterpark are joined by Sundays Well, Newcastle West-Estuary and Killarney in the last of the group’s at Under 18 level. Waterpark won the East Munster under 18(19) League for the seventh time in nine seasons when they beat Clanwilliam 10-9 on Sunday January 5th and backed by a strong contingent of players with provincial and national recognition they will be hard to beat.

The Under 16 competition is slightly harder to make predictions as it is the first season for all these players and teams to be playing in a Munster wide competition.

In Group A Waterpark maintain their record of having qualified for this stage of competition every year at both age groups since the introduction of a group stage 4 seasons ago, a record also shared at under 18/19 level by Young Munster, Nenagh and Highfield and at under 16/17 by Bruff and Tralee. They are joined in Group A by Shannon, Sundays Well and Bantry Bay.

Bantry Bay are competing at this stage for the first time and their first game at this level of competition sees them face fellow Cork side Sundays Well in Bantry.

In Group B Fethard make their debut at this stage of competition and are joined for their first season in the Pan Munster League by perennial provincial and all Ireland underage champions Bruff as well Dolphin and Castleisland.

Dolphin qualified to this stage following the first score rule when their quarter final clash with Charleville in Charleville last Saturday ended 7-7 at full time.

Group C see’s two clubs with a great history of successful teams at provincial and national level, Clonakilty and Kilfeacle, and they are joined by two clubs in Kilrush and Killorglin who have not played at this stage of competition before.

Group D see’s Old Crescent face off against Dungarvan, Sundays Well and Muskerry in the battle for places in the knock out stages.

Groups and Fixtures

Pan Munster U18

Group 1: Kinsale, Tralee, Young Munster, Clanwilliam
18/1/2014
Tralee v Kinsale
Clanwilliam v Young Munster

25/1/2014
Tralee v Clanwilliam
Kinsale v Young Munster

2/2/2014
Clanwilliam v Kinsale
Young Munster v Tralee

Group 2: Clonakilty, Bruff, Highfield, Galbally
18/1/2014
Bruff v Highfield
Clonakilty v Galbally

25/1/2014
Highfield v Galbally

26/1/2014
Bruff v Clonakilty

1/2/2014
Clonakilty v Highfield

2/2/2014

Galbally v Bruff

Group 3: Nenagh, Old Crescent, Cobh Pirates, Cork Con

Group 4: Waterpark, Sundays Well, Newcastle West-Estuary, Killarney

Pan Munster U16

Group 1: Waterpark, Shannon, Sundays Well, Bantry Bay

Group 2: Castleisland, Dolphin, Fethard, Bruff

Group 3: Clonakilty, Killorglin, Kilrush, Kilfeacle

Group 4: Muskerry, Tralee, Old Crescent, Dungarvan

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