Domestic Season Review | Adult Rugby
8th June 2023 By The Editor
It has been a fantastic season for adult rugby throughout the province with a huge number of exciting games and finals taking place over the last year.
Here, we take a look back at the winners from the 2022/23 season, highlighting the stand-out moments and clubs who performed exceptionally across the province.
Two Munster clubs reached the semi-finals of Division 1A of the Men’s All Ireland League as both Cork Constitution and Young Munster produced fine seasons to finish third and fourth in the table, respectively.
Cork Con, who recorded 13 wins and four losses throughout the regular season, lost out to eventual champions Terenure College by 30-12 in Lakelands in the semi-final while Young Munster, who recorded 11 wins and seven losses throughout the regular season, were narrowly defeated by Clontarf 13-12 in Castle Avenue in their last four clash.
The ‘Cookies’ did however win the Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup for a third successive year when they beat Nenagh Ormond 27-24 in the final in a classic encounter in Thomond Park back in March.
Shannon, who earned promotion to Division 1A last season, finished in ninth place with six victories. They subsequently beat Old Wesley and Highfield to remain in Division 1A for next season.
Unfortunately for Garryowen, they finished bottom of Division 1A and will play in Division 1B next season after the Light Blues recorded just two wins.
UL Bohemian finished fourth in the Women’s All Ireland League, recording five wins en route to a semi-final clash with Blackrock in Stradbrook where they were narrowly defeated 13-8. Bohs had a strong Women’s AIL Cup campaign post-Christmas where they reached the final after winning seven games but they were defeated 28-12 by Railway Union in the final.
Ballincollig, meanwhile, finished eighth in the Women’s All Ireland League with a win and a draw to their name while they recorded one victory over Suttonians in the Women’s AIL Cup post-Christmas.
Elsewhere in the Men’s AIL, Highfield finished third in Division 1B and they beat Old Belvedere 19-17 to reach a promotion/relegation playoff final with Shannon but they lost out 32-12 to the Limerick side to remain in 1B for next season.
UCC finished midtable in 1B after recording seven wins in their campaign.
In Division 2A, Nenagh Ormond enjoyed a very strong season which saw them finish third in the table with 12 wins to their name. Unfortunately for the Tipperary outfit, they lost out 10-8 to Blackrock College in the promotion semi-final. Earlier in the season, Nenagh beat Old Crescent, Garryowen and Highfield to reach the Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup final where they lost out to Young Munster 27-24.
Cashel, Old Crescent and UL Bohemian all retained their Division 2A status. UL Bohemian finished second from bottom but they defeated Sligo and Dungannon in the playoffs to preserve their place in 2A. Unfortunately for Dolphin, they were relegated to Division 2B after finishing bottom.
In Division 2C, Bruff finished in fourth place before defeating Galwegians in the promotion semi-final. The County Limerick side then lost out to Skerries 30-15 in the promotion final.
Clonmel and Midleton retained their 2C status with fifth and ninth place finishes, respectively but Sunday’s Well will be playing junior rugby next season after finishing bottom of Division 2C.
Richmond were crowned Munster Junior League champions for the fifth time after they finished top of Section A of the Munster Junior League with 13 wins and just two losses.
The Limerick club faced Ulster side Clogher Valley for a place in the AIL but they lost out 31-17 in Ashbourne. Richmond then faced senior club Midleton in a playoff but were defeated 29-17 in a thrilling contest at Towns Park.
Richmond also reached the final of the Junior Clubs Challenge Cup but were defeated by last season’s Junior League Champions and reigning Junior Clubs Challenge Cup holders Newcastle West 51-8 in Charleville.
Galbally-Mitchelstown finished top of Section B of the Munster Junior League with nine wins and one loss while they also beat Dungarvan to win the Junior Clubs Challenge Shield.
In Section C, Kanturk finished top with sevens wins and just one loss.
Kanturk will play in Division 1 of the Munster Junior League next season, as will Charleville who defeated Galbally-Mitchelstown in a playoff.
Among the other Junior Clubs Cup competitions, Garryowen won the Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup, Cashel won the Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Plate, Castleisland won the Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Bowl and Youghal won the Martin O’Sullivan Cup.
Kerry won the Women’s Division 1 Cup and the Women’s Divisional Cup while Ennis-Kilrush won the Women’s Division 2 Cup. Ennis-Kilrush also won the Women’s Divisional Bowl.
12 teams participated in a three-conference league this season including: Kerry, Shannon, Skibbereen, UL Bohemian, Thurles, Waterpark, Ballincollig, Ennis, Mallow, Midleton, Bantry Bay and Dolphin with UL Bohemian RFC’s 2nd XV winning the Conference Playoffs. UL Bohemian RFC’s 2nd XV also won the Women’s Open Cup.
Skibbereen also reached the semi-finals of the All Ireland Junior Cup competition losing out 28-13 to Tullamore in Mullingar.
For a full list of all of the domestic competition winners this season, please click here.