September 3rd, 2015
The Alternative Guide to the Connacht Senior League
We could tell you, Buccaneers won the Connacht Senior League, and you could very well retort, “So What?”
Such a response is not totally unfair.
It’s a pre season provincial league title, and that won’t have club supporters falling over themselves. Just four teams, two showing some fairly worrying pre season form (Galwegians and particularly Corinthians) and one from tier five in the AIL punching reasonably above their weight, (Sligo).
However, Buccaneers steam rolled through this in a fashion that suggests they did more than simply care enough to win. Reports of just under 40 players used in three games underlines a determined start to the Brett Wilkinson regime.
August 31st, 2015
It might still be August but the Ulster league is up and running. Eight of the ten teams competing in Qualifying league one have kicked off their campaign and there are some interesting trends.
We know, we know, it’s ridiculously early to be drawing any conclusions but that’s not going to stop us for at least a couple of paragraphs.
First of all, Saturday’s results.
Clogher Valley 32, CIYMS 3
Ballyclare 7, Bangor 55
Instonians 30, Ards 26
Omagh 22, Dromore 12.
Now, time to make some general observations.
The reigning champions Instonians had a bit of a battle today against recently relegated Ards in their bonus point win. The east coast outfit seem in good shape to at the very least arrest the slide and possibly figure among the title contenders this year based on this good show at Shaw’s Bridge. As for the champs, a win and a bonus point with plenty to improve on is a good start.
August 28th, 2015
In the Village magazine this month, former Leinster player Jim O’Callaghan’s outlined a key issue facing those involved in developing rugby around Ireland.
The article Rugby Surrendered its Social Benefit, discusses the rapid decline of rugby at amateur level pointing to the American football model as the possible direction we are heading.
This week, KnockOn.ie’s Alan Deegan went in search of some numbers to see if it is true. Are player numbers declining at amateur level? What he found was alarming to say the least.
UPDATE: We’ve had a few comments highlighting the fact that a clean up of the player registration system could be a major factor in the decline. We’ll be investigating that a little more next week.
Last season was hugely successful for the professional game at the highest level in Ireland, but in contrast it appears that participation rates of adult men playing rugby has fallen off a cliff.
Using figures from the IRFU Annual reports there was a drop of 23% in men playing the game last season, and an even more staggering 48% drop in the last 5 seasons.
August 27th, 2015
The Kukri Ulster Qualifying League kicks off on Saturday August 29th with four games. There is a slight change to the format this season. The Conference league overlapping means that each weekend, two of the ten teams in Q1 will not be in Qualifying league action but instead will be facing Ballynahinch or Belfast Harlequins 2nds in the Conference league. We’ll have more on this in the season preview.
The important things to note are that the season is a long one and starts early with four straight weeks of action up to September 19th. Ards and Omagh are the new boys. Ards, having dropped out of the AIL and Omagh having gained promotion thanks to their Qualifying League 2 triumph last year.
Caption: Action from last weekend’s friendly between Ballymoney and Omagh which the Tyrone club won 39-23. Pic: Uel McDowell, Ballymoney RFC website.
August 24th, 2015
The Connacht Senior League is now two weeks old with Buccaneers storming clear at the top of the pile after two impressive early season wins.
Judging form is difficult at this stage, as both Galway sides seem to be a long way off their best, yet Saturday’s 73-17 win for Buccaneers over their old foes Galwegians has to be filed in the ‘unprecedented’ bracket.
Galwegians will play in Division 1a next season after their historic Division 1b title winning season while Buccaneers, under new coach Brett Wilkinson, will be involved in Division 1b. The midlanders also beat Corinthians 41-7 in round one and seem set to top the table.
August 24th, 2015
Leinster Rugby Club Results – 22nd August 2015
The Leinster Senior League Cup and Shield competitions are up and running after a near full programme of action on Saturday.
In Section A, newly promoted Old Wesley are off to a good start thanks to their home win over Skerries. UCD and Clontarf meet on Monday evening in the final opening round game.
Old Belvedere’s away win at Lansdowne was probably the most eye catching result in Section B.
August 21st, 2015
Competitive pre-season rugby kicks off in Leinster this weekend with 20 All Ireland clubs in action, most on Saturday.
The competition as usual is split in two, as teams compete for either the Senior League Cup or Shield. This season 12 sides have opted for the Cup competition with the remaining eight competition for the Shield.
Once we reach the knockout stages, the trophy becomes a target for clubs but there is no question that during these opening three pool games, the aim for most coaches will be to ease back into competitive rugby and develop patterns.
Nonetheless here’s our quick preview, group by group.
Caption: Action from last season’s UBL Final which Lansdowne won. Beaten finalist Clontarf are the reigning Leinster Senior League Cup champions. Pic: Voicu Duma.
Leinster Senior League Cup
Old Wesley v Skerries (Saturday 2pm)
UCD v Clontarf (Tuesday 7:30pm)
The action kicks off in Donnybrook on Saturday as new second tier side Old Wesley will look to kick off a big season with a win against a Skerries side that only just missed out on joining them in Division 1b last season.
August 21st, 2015
There could be a significant change to the make-up of the Towns Cup in the 2015/16 season if an expansion proposal, currently being considered, gets the go ahead in Leinster.
Junior Clubs in the Metro region have put together a plan to join the competition for the very first time.
The seven clubs (listed in the proposal) are currently part of the Leinster provincial leagues but ineligible for a competition that is historically reserved for clubs outside the metropolitan region.
May 11th, 2015
A grand slam is a fine way to end a long wait for a Junior Inter-Provincial title and Ulster completed the job on Saturday with a highly impressive 20-7 victory over title holders Leinster at Ashbourne.
From the very outset of the competition, Ulster have been a team on a mission under the guidances of Jason Morgan having made some impressive progress over recent years.
The opening day win over Connacht set the tone and last weekend’s big win against Munster meant they were favourites on Saturday.
Leinster 6, Ulster 20
Connacht 33, Munster 40
May 11th, 2015
Munster Junior Cup Final
Shannon are Munster Junior Cup champions after over 160 minutes of one of the more absorbing finals in the long history of the competition. After last week’s draw in Thomond Park, the action moved to Cork on Sunday and proved no less dramatic but this time, the Limerick men proved that bit stronger than the reigning champions Clonmel.
The majority of the scores might have come in the first half on Sunday but the drama rarely dipped below compelling during the entire contest. Shannon led by 13 at half time but were pegged back to seven in the second half before winger Greg O’Shea scored a vital try just shy of the hour mark that ultimately put the game out of sight.