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Preview | Bank Of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup Final

14th March 2024 By Eolan Allen

Preview | Bank Of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup Final

A view of the 2019 Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup final between Garryowen and Cork Constitution. Photo Credit: Inpho

The final of the Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup takes place this Sunday 17th March in Thomond Park at 3pm.

Garryowen and Cork Constitution meet in the decider and you can buy your tickets here.

Read our preview of the game below.

Whichever of the two clubs who will win Sunday’s Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup clash in the iconic Thomond Park Stadium, in doing so, they will be ending the recent dominance of Young Munster who claimed a hat-trick of titles.

Con’ were the last team to win before the Cookies while the Light Blues came closest to usurping them in the final two years ago, with a narrow three-point loss in a compelling tight decider.

This season saw a new structure to the competition with the opening round divided into two groups of four and two groups of three with the winners progressing to the semis.

Garryowen looked like they weren’t going to make it to Sunday’s final with a 15-5 opening loss to holders Young Munster with Bryan Fitzgerald scoring a try for the Dooradoyle outfit.

Garryowen did ensure that their title hopes were retained with two big victories. In Round Two they overcame Cashel 36-5 but it was UCC’s surprise success over Young Munster that re-opened the path for Garryowen to progress.

They faced the Cork students in the last round of group games with the three sides still in contention. It was an enthralling back and forth game. Garryowen pulled away at the end with Jerónomi Pena scoring two tries with Kyle Read, JJ O’Neill, Colm Quilligan and Nick Greene getting one each as they eventually pulled away to secure a vital bonus-point 36-24 victory to progress to the last four.

Cork Constitution meanwhile did have a tough series of games themselves but it was relatively smoother as they won out in all three games to be clear at the top of their group. Their campaign started with a tough local derby at Highfield. The Temple Hill scored five tries in a 36-20 win courtesy of two by Matthew Bowen and one each from Luke Kerr, Daniel Hurley and James Taylor who also kicked 11 points.

Con’ then went on to win their two home games. Firstly against Nenagh Ormond. After a tight first-half that saw the Cork side hold a narrow 11-8 lead, they pulled away after the break to win 28-11; with Max Abbot scoring two of Con’s four tries.

The final game was a showdown with fellow Division 1A side Shannon. With tries shared about between Bowen, Taylor, Dan Hurley, Jack Kelleher and Ronan O’Sullivan, they won out 34-17.

Con’ travelled to Old Crescent in the first semi-final and put in a complete dominant display to emerge victorious 48-10. Crescent did enjoy a great campaign but the class difference was clear as the visitors ran in eight tries; with Billy Crowley scoring two of these.

Garryowen faced Division 2C side Bruff in the second semi-final and had a similar type of victory as they won out 39-10. Sean Rennison ran in two tries for the city side with Jack Delaney, Kyle Read, Des Fitzgerald and Donncha Byrne also touching down.

It will be the first clash of the two clubs this season. Garryowen are pushing for a promotion play-off spot in Division 1B of the Energia Men’s All Ireland League while Con’ in Division 1A have virtually secured a title play-off spot and will push hard for a home play-off spot.

It should be a tough encounter between these two historic rivals.

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