Connacht 1a Fixtures

Ballinasloe Corinthians

Connacht Division 1a Fixtures 14/15

The new Connacht season will kick off with some fascinating encounters on September 7th. The clash of last year’s runners up OLBC and 2013 champions Monivea at the Sportsground might well be the highlight.

Reigning league champions Corinthians have a fairly ideal start for early September with an away fixture against fellow AIL side Galwegians at Crowley. Both clubs would prepfer to face each other as early September is a time when they are not at full strength with the AIL yet to start.

The clash of Junior Cup runners up Westport and Cawley Cup champions Connemara in Carrowholly will be another gripping encounter, as the west coast derby continues its rebirth while last year’s surprise package Ballinasloe begin their campaign away to Ballina.

Leinster Fixtures

Wanderers celebrate

Leinster League Division 1a 2014/15

The opening day of the new Leinster league season is no doubt eagerly anticipated in the clubhouses of all eight Division 1a at the moment. The 2014/15 campaign has the potential to be the most competitive and hard to predict title race in over a decade.

Yet another league champion went on to gain promotion to the All Ireland League last season, Wanderers following in the footsteps of Tullamore (2013), Skerries (2012), Boyne (2011), Seapoint (2010), Navan (2009) and Naas (2007) by returning to the senior ranks.

All told, seven of the last eight league winners have managed to turn League title success into promotion to the Ulster Bank League via the qualifiers with only 2008 league winners Cill Dara missing out on such a path. They are one of the teams to watch for this years title.

Club Rankings 11th -15th

Ashbourne Roscrea

Ireland’s Top 30 Provincial League Clubs (11-15)

Part 3 of our top 30 rankings, teams ranked 11th to 15th.

Rankings are based on performances in Round Robin Qualifiers, provincial leagues, All Ireland Cup and provincial cup competitions.

The relative strength of each of the four leagues was judged on results in qualifiers and the All Ireland Cup over the last three seasons.

The Rankings

Part 1: Rankings 1 to 5 (click here)
Part 2: Rankings 6-10 (click here)

11. Newcastle West

Key stat
* They won three of their nine league games by a margin of a single point.

Club Rankings 6th to10th

Enniscorthy Coolmine

Ireland’s Top 30 Provincial League Clubs (6th to 10th)

In part two of our Top 30 club series we focus on the teams ranked six to ten.
We’ll be ranking the top 30 provincial clubs between now and the end of next week and we’ll also have a piece on ten clubs outside the top 30 but on the rise.

Rankings are based on performances in Round Robin Qualifiers, provincial leagues, All Ireland Cup and provincial cup competitions.

The relative strength of each of the four leagues was judged on results in qualifiers and the All Ireland Cup over the last three seasons.

Part 1: Rankings 1 to 5 (click here)

The Rankings

6. Enniscorthy

Honours
All Ireland Junior Cup Champions

Club Rankings Top 5

Wanderers celebrate

Ireland’s Top 30 Provincial League Clubs

Over the next few days we’ll be listing our top 30 provincial league clubs from 2013/14. The series starts with the top five clubs and will continute tomorrow with clubs ranked six through ten, writes Rob Murphy.

The initial focus of the rankings is on provincial league performances and the Round Robin Qualifiers before taking into account All Ireland Cup and Provincial Cup competitions.

The relative strength of each of the four leagues was judged on results in qualifiers and the All Ireland Cup over the last three seasons.

The Rankings

1. Wanderers

Honours
Leinster League Champions
UBL Round Robin Champions

Podcast: Junior Inter-Pro

junior interprovincial ulster v leinster

The 2014 Junior Inter-Provincial series produced some exciting rugby and a dramatic final day as Leinster ended a four year wait for honours. Their coach, Dave Mahon sat down with Rob Murphy to review the series in full.

They look back at a campaign where Ulster just couldn’t buy a break, Munster picked up two wins and Connacht fought back from a disastrous start to finish with some positive vibes.

Caption: Action from the final league clash between Ulster and Leinster which ended in a 21 all draw. Pic: Voicu Duma.

AUDIO: Nenagh Ormond Rfc

Ulster Bank League Awards 2013/2014

The club of the season at the Munster Rugby awards for 2013/14 were Nenagh Ormond RFC after they completed an unbeaten campaign in Division 2b of the Ulster Bank League gaining promotion to the third tier for the very first time.

At the Ulster Bank League awards, their outside centre Derek Corcoran picked up the play of the season award from Ireland Head coach Joe Schmidt and Rob Murphy of KnockOn.ie spoke to Derek after the ceremony.

Bright future for Clanwilliam

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Clanwilliam have finished this season with a bang rather than a whimper, even in ultimate defeat.

A first Junior Cup final appearance in 67 years underlines the potential of the Division 2 club and after Sunday’s defeat to Clonmel in the decider, we caught up with a disappointed but optimistic head coach Chisty Neilan.

The Limerick man is at the end of year one of this project and after looking back on a 27-9 loss that was much closer than the scoreline suggests, he points to the future and the big work being done to get the Tipperary Town club back permanently at the top table.

Clonmel 27, Clanwilliam 9

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Munster Junior Cup Final

Clonmel 27
Clanwilliam 9

Rob Murphy at Musgrave Park

Clonmel Scorers: Brian Smith, Greg Carroll and Luke Hogan 1 try each; Conor Cooney 1 try, 1 pen, 2 cons.
Clanwilliam Scorers: Brian Kissane 3 pens.

The greatest day in the 122 year history of rugby in Clonmel came on Sunday afternoon at a sun drenched Musgrave Park. You can say that with certainty. A day that will be cherished for years to come no matter how many more titles find their way to the clubhouse at Ardgaoith on the hill overlooking the south Tipperary town.

This was their very first Junior Cup crown and their first final, all this after a second place finish in the Junior League. It has been some season for Denis Leamy’s side. They have broken trends, smashed myths and beaten the very best teams, playing some brilliant rugby along the way.

Leinster Are Champions

Leinster Juniors

Ulster 21
Leinster 21

Ulster Scorers: Jamie Johnston 1 try; Garry Clotworthy 1 try, 3 pens. James Morgan 1 con.
Leinster Scorers: Stephen McGee, Niall O’Donoghue and Ben Swindlehurst 1 try each; Bill Duggan 3 cons.

As memorable title deciders go, this game had it all. Great tries, sin bins, fight backs and late drama. Leinster got the draw they needed but only after a huge turnaround in the final half hour of this contest which saw them claw back from a 14 point deficit.

Their belief and unwillingness to let another title slip away is a credit to the team and management but they really did make it over the line by the skin of their teeth in this one. That’s what will make it all the more memorable.

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