June 19th, 2013
The Connacht Rugby Junior League starts in late August for the first time in history this coming season and the reason for this all stems from a short sighted decision to go against the grain with league rules four seasons ago.
It will have little or no effect on the number of days and nights that players will have to commit to for their top tier clubs adding in two extra games where friendlies or training sessions might have been in place.
However it has a hugely debilitating effect on those trying to organise the season schedule with a total of four extra rounds needed when you switch form eight to nine teams but more on that in another article.
Since the season starts so early this year and includes four more weekend’s of action, we thought we’d break it all down in numbers from both the team and playing perspective as Monivea (pic) look to defend their title, Connemara come back down to the Junior leagues and Castlebar and Ballinasloe gain promotion.
18 - That’s the absolute minimum number of games a club in the top tier of the Junior league will play if they are one of the five that are not in the All Ireland Cup and exit both Cups at the first hurdle.
21 - That’s are prediction of a likely average number of competitive games for a top tier club allowing for some progress in cup games.
June 18th, 2013
Reigning Leinster Senior League Shield champions Skerries will begin their campaign with a trip to Division 2a newbies Naas who defeated Greystones in April to book their spot in the third tier for the first time ever.
Newly promoted Tullamore will begin life as a senior club on Saturday August 24 when they take on NUIM Barnhall in the opening round of the Leinster Senior League shield.
It will be a big test for the Offaly side on day one against the Kildare side that won promotion to Division 2a last season after a fine campaign in the fourth tier.
June 18th, 2013
This year’s Leinster League Cup kicks off on August 24th and will see the provinces leading ten sides compete over four weekends in the lead up to the AIL season for a place in the semi finals.
The fixtures have been announced and Cup holders St Mary’s College kick off their campaign at home to Bective Rangers while last year’s beaten finalists take on Old Wesley.
The competition mainly caters from for sides from the top two tiers but also includes the aforementioned two Donnybrook based sides from Division 2a.
June 17th, 2013
Some of the highlights from Irish Rugby club’s on twitter over the last couple of days.
If you have something happening in your club and you want it highlighted on KnockOn.ie, then get tweeting we’ll include in our bulletin.
June 17th, 2013
The Mayo News enlisted me on a task this week. Write a short piece for the back page with my thoughts on the British and Irish Lions series and why it stirs up the passions of so many rugby fans.
As devoted rugby followers we often forget that the majority of the sports fans on this island are not as captivated by the game as we are and find some of its nuances baffling. The Lions can fit into that category and the article below keeps them in mind.
The Lions, Why it Matters
The concept of British and Irish Lions Rugby is a real puzzle to the majority of sports fans on this island. It takes time to ponder and doesn’t always leave the inquisitor convinced once done. It is unique and buying into it, so to speak, can often be a bridge too far for the new age rugby fan.
June 13th, 2013
We’re trialing a club news notice board using our twitter link. Have look and feel free to give us some feedback.
We’ve selected the highlights of some of the tweets from clubs around Ireland over the past half hour.
June 12th, 2013
It’s time for the unloved Connacht Senior Clubs to make like Nellie the Elephant and pack their trunks.
It’s time for them to propose their own Connacht Senior Seconds League starting next season.
A league where they can get on with the business of developing up and coming young talent in their clubs, preparing them for senior rugby, giving game time to players returning from injuries and long serving squad players looking for competitive rugby.
A league where they can keep a firm focus on their first team like every other club in Connacht rather than find themselves constantly chastised for not putting equal amount of time into their 2nd xv. One where they can have off days when squad resources are low and not have this dramatic fluctuation in form effect the league positions every other Junior club chasing promotion or fighting to avoid relegation.
June 12th, 2013
On Monday June 24th Connacht clubs will have a chance to vote on some key changes to structures and format in the Junior leagues as put forward by the Connacht Branch Domestic games department based on their own research.
It is vital that players, coaches and officials in all clubs are familiar with what is down for discussion and play a part in helping frame their clubs position on they issues.
You can read them in detail here.
Junior Rugby Review and Proposals
You can also get a feel for the season structure plan in terms of dates here.
Draft Connacht Season Plan 13-14 MkIII
Five Key Issues in New Connacht Season Proposals
1. League Structure Changes
The league structures are changing thanks to the extraordinary decision made by Connacht clubs some years ago to extend the size of the top division in the event of one of the provinces AIL sides being relegated some years ago.
June 10th, 2013
Dundalk won five of their first six games this season and finished the campaign with six straight wins, extracting positives from the 2012/13 campaign by the north Louth side isn’t hard and they had some milestones in the end of season club house to prove it.
The McGowan Cup was just an appetiser, securing a return to the All Ireland Junior Cup was the main course, finishing in the top four thanks to two big wins right at the very end of the campaign. Then came the icing with a Towns Plate triumph in some style over Newbridge.
The 2011 Towns Cup champions have had better seasons for sure but after the mass exodus of two summers ago, they have rebuilt their core first xv with an emerging crop of talent and they seem to be backing it all up nicely with results when they matter.
June 4th, 2013
The Newbridge story needs some context on it before embarking on a season review. The club are now established as at top flight force after a long period of lower league wallowing but after three years of progress just had a season of stability that would have felt like a step backwards.
Rewind back four years to the 2008/09 season when Newbridge ended their first year in the top flight with 13 defeats from 13 outings in the then 14 team league won by Navan. A humbling experience made worse by the fact that they weren’t overwhelmed but were soundly beaten. Close but no cigar in terms of wining even on match, they scored 17 tries but conceded 49.
The drawing board was dusted off and they regrouped superbly the following season finishing second in the newly structured second tier of eight teams, beating Monkstown in a play off and making a swift return to what was now an eight team top flight. From struggling in the top 14 to well established in the top eight in just 12 months.