4th January 2024 By Leonard Allen
The New Year kicks off with the Bateman Cup final and the opening round of the Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup.
There are also a handful of Munster Junior League games across all three divisions, together with a Martin O’Sullivan Cup quarter final.
There is also a full programme of games in Division 2 of the Munster Women’s’ League and Shannon-TUS go head to head with Ennis-Kilrush at Coonagh in the opening round of the Mark Anderson Trophy.
Young Munster travel to the capital to take on holders and defending AIL champions Terenure College in the Bateman Cup decider at Lakelands Park. The Limerick side, who were defeated by Lansdowne in the decider two years ago, are appearing in their fourth decider and are seeking to win the trophy for the first time since 1928.
The Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup gets underway on Saturday, as Ardscoil Old Boys make their debut against Killorglin at the Mid Kerry venue. This game also doubles up as Munster Junior League Division 3 tie. The winners will be at home to St Mary’s in the second round of the Munster Junior Cup. Both sides are tied in fourth place on 15 points each in the Munster Junior League, six points adrift of Castleisland, who are second.
Midleton, who won the Munster Junior Cup in 1997 and 1998, welcome Clonmel, whose only triumph was in 2014, to East Cork. The winners will be rewarded with home advantage against Scariff or Carrick-on-Suir, who meet in East Clare.
Killarney entertain Waterford City in East Kerry and the winners will be at home to Abbeyfeale, who won the trophy in 1964 and 1966, in Round 2.
Dungarvan lock horns with Castleisland in West Waterford and the winners will have home advantage against Fethard in the next round.
Douglas go head to head with Bruff at Castletreasure and the winners will be away to 2006 winners Cobh Pirates.
All six defeated teams in the Munster Junior Cup first round will compete in the Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Bowl.
Mallow, who are second in Division 1 of the Munster Junior League, welcome Kilfeacle, who are in fifth place, to North Cork. Mallow go into the tie on the back of a 16-10 away win over Bandon, while the West Tipperary side claimed all points on offer from their 24-5 home win over Kanturk.
Newcastle West lock horns with Richmond in West Limerick, with both sides going into the tie on the back of bonus point victories over Bandon and Sunday’s Well respectively.
Bandon, who are hovering above the drop zone, go head to head with second from bottom Clanwilliam at Old Chapel. Both sides were defeated by Newcastle West and Thomond respectively in their last games. They also have one victory each to their credit as Bandon defeated Kanturk 18-13 in Duhallow before Christmas, while Clanwilliam’s only win of the campaign was when they defeated Muskerry 20-13 in Tipperary Town in October.
The only game of Division 2 is the Cork derby between Fermoy and Old Christians at the Showgrounds. The North Cork side are four points clear of the relegation zone following their 30-24 away win over Youghal last time out. Old Christians put up 47 points without reply against Waterpark at Rathcooney, to record their third bonus point victory, following a run of three successive defeats.
Chorca Dhuibhne welcome Ennis to the West Kerry Gaeltacht for their Martin O’Sullivan Cup quarter final. The winners will be away to Killarney in the semi-finals.
In Division 2 of the Munster Women’s League, Ballincollig will have their work cut out as they entertain Bruff, who are unbeaten in second place, at Tanner Park. The County Limerick side ended leaders Midleton’s unbeaten run as they defeated the East Cork side 28-0 at Kilballyowen Park last time out. Ballincollig go into the tie on the back of a 28-0 home defeat by Bantry Bay.
Fourth-placed Bantry Bay welcome Thurles, who are joint third, to West Cork. Bantry Bay recorded a 28-0 bonus point victory against Ballincollig last time out, while Thurles recorded a narrow 19-17 win over Clonakilty at The Vale.
Bottom side Clonakilty, who have two losing bonus points to their credit, face a tricky task as they entertain Mallow at The Vale. Clonakilty were narrowly defeated 8-7 by leaders Midleton in East Cork in their last game, while the North Cork Side ran out 29-8 home winners over Bantry Bay.