Kilkenny’s Next Challenge

Ashbourne Kilkenny

All Towns Cup finals are hard to lose but each has its own unique twist, for Kilkenny, Sunday’s extra time loss to Ashbourne was a perplexing defeat. They had their chances, didn’t take them but still found it hard to fathom how it all got away from them on Sunday evening.

A powerful first half display from their scrum, a hugely effective disruptive effort from their lineout and some strong open play running from Killian Everard should have been enough to win the game but it wasn’t.

Afterwards, head coach Steve Ashmore wasn’t about to be consumed by the what might have been question, he just took the pragmatic view on it all.

The eventful year comes to a close with a mid table finish in their first year back at second tier level, a South East League final defeat and a Towns Cup final loss. Since Christmas, Kilkenny have been a force to be reckoned with and their Cup run proved as much.

If they can keep the squad together and build, they have every right to believe that they can go one step further next year. Yet before they can even think of the Towns Cup again, they’ll have at least ten league games and four South East games to tackle.

Division 1b is now the toughest it has ever been with Carlow and Gorey up from below and full of ambition and Tullow and Newbridge coming down with plenty of desire to bounce back. That leaves Longford, Wicklow and Malahide still there from this season. No fun, but all part of the journey.

Play-Off Repercussions


On a weekend of high drama and huge celebrations it is easy to forget the sides that lost out and the consequences of such defeats.

This is no more than evident the annual play off between the Ulster Bank League Round Robin runners up and the 15th ranked side in Division 2b.

On Saturday Instonians were the side left devastated. So too were Coleraine and Limavady (We’ll explain anon) while Kanturk (obviously), Cobh Pirates, Waterpark and Newport all had reasons to be cheerful.

It always seems worse for the side already in the AIL to lose that fixture than the one trying to get in although try telling that to the 2011 beaten play-off side Monivea. Their loss to Ards was even more heartbreaking because they led on the hour mark by two scores.

Clogher Valley Take Title

Clogher Valley

Ulster Powerade Towns Cup

Clogher Valley 15
Donaghadee 7

Monday’s triumph makes it three Towns Cup titles  two Junior league titles, a Junior Cup and an All Ireland Final appearance in four years. An incredible run for the club from just outside five mile down.

Against a Donaghadee team determined to upset the odds, David Black’s side battled back from an early deficit to win in what was their 33rd game of an incredible season.

Munster Junior Cup Details

Skibbereen Clonmel

Munster Junior Cup

Skibbereen 13
Clonmel 26

Skibbereen Scorers: Shane Newman 1 try; Ger Hurley 1 con, 2 pens.
Clonmel Scorers: Brian Smith 2 tries; John Long and Luke Hogan 1 try each; Conor Cooney 3 cons.

A firecracker start from the visitors all but sealed victory in the early stages on Sunday. Two tries in the first ten minutes had the 2012 finalists on the rack and although Skibbereen fought back in the second half, Clonmel’s defence was always going to hold firm with such a lead.

Brain Smith and John Long had the early tries for Denis Leamy’s side who are chasing a first ever Junior Cup title for the club. By the 20 minute mark lead was 19-0 thanks to Luke Hogan. Conor Cooney had kicked two conversions.

Podcast – Towns Cup Review


Ashbourne are Towns Cup champions for the first time in their history after Sunday’s extra time win over Kilkenny.

Our eighth and final podcast of the season comes to you from the marquee at Tullow RFC’s home ground after the game.

Monkstown FC and Leinster Juniors Coach David Mahon and Newbridge RFC coach Niall Moran join Rob Murphy to review a final low on spark but high on drama.

PTC: Ashbourne 6, Kilkenny 3


Towns Cup Final
Ashbourne 6
Kilkenny 3 (aet)

Rob Murphy at Black Gates in Tullow

On the full time whistle, Ashbourne resembled a group of weary yet elated nomads. They had reached their destination, Towns Cup champions but only after taking umpteen wrong turns and running down one or two cul de sacs during the contest. This wasn’t their best display of their remarkable season but it was the crowning glory for a defiant and determined squad.

Over a few frantic seconds immediately after that whistle, it all started to sink in for players and supporters of the men in amber and black around the Tullow ground. After 40 years of rugby in the town and a whole lot of progress, Ashbourne had finally done it, they had just been crowned Towns Cup champions.

For Kilkenny, the dejection was palpable, they had the winning of the game in this game but that’s not to say Ashbourne didn’t deserve the triumph either, it’s just a reference to the fact that the best scoring chances belonged to the runners up in this one and they weren’t taken.

Connemara Champions


Cawley Cup Final
Connemara 32
Westport 16

By Trevor Watson of the Mayo News

Connemara Scorers: Ian Heanue, Barry Gibbons, Jack Vaughan and Dave McDonagh 1 try each; Shane Sweeney 3 cons, 2 pens.
Westport Scorers: Kevin Corcoran 1 try; Dwayne Corcoran 3 pens.

Three first-half tries paved the way for an emphatic Connemara victory in the 2014 Cawley Cup final, played in Glorious sunshine in Crowley Park on Sunday last.

The men in black had a commanding 25-9 half time lead as they turned around facing into a stiff breeze, but a strong defensive display in the second half saw them home with a bit to spare.

For the majority of the of that second period, the Bulls to their credit, kept the pressure but found it almost impossible to penetrate the extremely physical All Black defence.

Munster Results


The quarter finals of today’s Munster Junior Cup provided plenty of drama with three Junior clubs still standing in the last four.

Clanwilliam will host Clonakilty and Ul Bohemian 2nds will host Clonmel in the May 4th semi finals after a day of dram.

At Clanwilliam Park, the home team produced a brilliant display to get the better of Thomond 2nds in fine style winning 34-0.

Ashbourne Win Towns Cup

Ashbourne RFC

Provincial Towns Cup Final
Ashbourne 6
Tullow 3

We can dance around the words or we can just keep it simple. Sunday’s Towns Cup final was no classic.

This was war of attrition in every way with the second half downpour that continued right through extra time, only adding to the bogged down feel to it all.

In tough conditions and in front of a huge Towns cup crowd, the commitment from both sides was ferocious and thanks in no small way to a heroic defensive effort, Ashbourne prevailed to complete an incredible season and lift the famous Towns Cup trophy for the very first time.

Kanturk Go Senior


Ulster Bank League Play OffInstonians 13
Kanturk 24

The Kanturk story is a remarkable one and it will be told in more detail on these pages in the coming days but first things first, let’s just mark down that the Duhallow men are in the All Ireland League after Saturday’s stunning display at Shaws Bridge.

An unbroken 23 run in the All Ireland League for Instonians is now over after this defeat, their second half fight back wasn’t enough with Brian O’Neill’s late try sealing another huge win for the Munster champions.

Wins over OLBC and Clogher Valley got them to the play off, the might have won the Round Robin but were pipped by a single point in their clash with Wanderers leaving them with Saturday’s challenge. Beating the long established Belfast Senior club on their own patch.

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