Top Two Clash in Ulster


Ulster Qualifying 1

A huge day in the title race in Ulster today as Instonians and Clogher Valley take to the field in Belfast with six points between them in the standings and another clash to come later in the season.

If the Tyrone side can recover from last weekend’s All Ireland Cup disappointment and deliver an upset win, the title race in Ulster will be wide open once more but two days on from Instonians 13-0 Junior Cup win over Omagh at Ravenhill, the odds are with the unbeaten home side in this one.

AUDIO: Clogher Valley Coach David Black reflecting on the semi final loss and today’s big game.

Dundalk v CIYMS Today

CIYMS Dundalk

We’re in Mill Road today for the Ulster Bank All Ireland Junior Cup semi final replay between Dundalk and CIYMS which kicks off at 2pm.

Follow our updates on @knockonrugby on twitter and check back here later today for team news and post match audio from both camps.

Last weekend we went for a Dundalk win by five points in Belmont but the hosts usurped that call with a huge effort especially in the latter stages of both halves to earn a second shot at it.

UBL Team News

Ulster Bank Ball

Ulster Bank League Division 1A

Ballymacarn Park :  Ballynahinch             v                 Young Munster

Ballynahinch: 1 Jonny Simpson, 2. Jonny Murphy, 3. Kyle McCall, 4. James Simpson, 5. John Donnan, 6. Charlie Butterworth, 7. Paul Pritchard, 8. Michael Graham, 9. Blane McIlroy . 10. Harry Mc Aleese (Capt.), 11. Chris Quinn, 12. Stephen McCauley, 13. Jordan Grattan, 14. Ross Adair, 15. Adam Craig  SUBS: 16. Craig Trenier, 17. Stuart Orr, 18. Jonny Madden, 19. Aaron Cairns , 20. David Nicholson

Young Munster:  1. Paul Allen, 2. Ger Slattery, 3. Martin Kelly, 4. Tom Goggin, 5. Darren Gallagher, 6. Yasin Browne, 7. Ben Kilkenny,  8, Sean Rennison, 9. Evan Mulcahy, 10. Gearoid Lyons, 11. Eamon Carr, 12. Kolio Hifo, 13. Dan Goggin, 14, Edward O’Keeffe, 15. Shane O’Leary SUBS: 16. Shane Fenton, 17. Conor Bartley, 18. Mike Madden, 18 Mike Madden, 19. Ben Martin, 20. Craig O’Hanlon

UBL Weekend At a Glance

Pic: Old Wesley RFC facebook,

UBL Division 1a (Saturday 2:30 unless stated)
Cork Constitution v Dolphin (Friday 7:30), home by 8
Terenure College v UCD, home by 1
Ballynahinch v Young Munster, home by 2
Old Belvedere v Clontarf, away by 3
Lansdowne v St Mary’s College (Saturday 4:30), home by 7

The Table (via

1 No change Terenure College 9 7 0 2 238 116 122 3 2 33
2 No change Lansdowne 9 7 0 2 176 118 58 3 1 32
3 Up Cork Constitution 9 4 2 3 138 138 0 1 2 23
4 Up Young Munster 9 5 0 4 161 209 -48 1 2 23
5 Down Clontarf 9 4 0 5 173 130 43 1 5 22
6 Down Old Belvedere 9 3 1 5 172 165 7 1 5 20
7 No change Ballynahinch 9 4 1 4 153 159 -6 1 1 20
8 No change UCD 9 4 1 4 178 187 -9 1 1 20
9 No change St. Mary’s College 9 3 0 6 161 208 -47 0 2 14
10 No change Dolphin 9 0 3 6 93 213 -120 0 2 8

Division 1b (Saturday 2:30 unless stated)
Shannon v Garryowen (Friday 7:30), away by 2
Dublin University v Galwegians, away by 3
Belfast Harlequins v Ul Bohemian, home by 2
Corinthians v Ballymena, home by 3
Buccaneers v Malone, home by 5

€10? You’re having a laugh….

Senior Cup Final editor Rob Murphy on a worrying trend in senior club rugby as supporters turn their back on the big games and the IRFU shrug their shoulders, Meanwhile a combination provincial branches and clubs appear to be at sixes and sevens in dealing with the problem. Sunday’s Connacht Senior Cup final was the latest example, there will be more in the coming months.

One of the oldest trophies in club rugby in Connacht will be in the hands of Buccaneers for the next 12 months after they deservedly ended the Galwegians reign in this competition winning 28-14 and inflicting just a second defeat of the season on the sky blues in the process, at the Sportsground on Sunday afternoon.

The competition has long since lost its allure and the powers that be at IRFU, branch and club level are doing little to reinvigorate it.

A little bit of lateral thinking would do a world of good, but after the wholly uninspiring AIL restructuring proposals were unveiled in September, most club rugby advocates have lost all hope of such innovation from their governing body.

Bangor 9, Clogher Valley 6


Ulster Bank All Ireland Junior Cup – Semi Final

Bangor 9
Clogher Valley 6

Bangor Scorers: Mark Widdowson 3 pens.
Clogher Valley Scorers: Philip Holme 1 pen, 1 drop goal.

Having had a couple of days to reflect on events in Upritchard Park last Saturday, the feeling that Bangor’s was a performance to rank with anything seen in club rugby in 2014 still persists. This result and Cup run will stand the test of time in the annals of the famous east coast rugby club.

Make no mistake, after a decade and a bit in the wilderness, Bangor are back, powered by an impressive young pack, piloted by an experienced half back duo and fuelled by an exciting and talented backline.

Their run to the final is without question the toughest any side has faced in the ten seasons of this competition and might never be matched. They have toppled unbeaten Munster league leaders Clonmel away before ousting the holders Enniscorthy and on Saturday last year’s runners up Clogher Valley on home soil.

All Pictures from Roger Corbett, Bangor RFC website

Towns Cup Draw


Provincial Towns Cup

The draw for the Leinster Towns Cup was made on Saturday with four teams receiving a bye to round two and the other 24 being drawn for first round action.

The stand out ties include Division 1b Tullow at home to Division 1a Cill Dara which could be a very tight call between two form sides or the clash of Division 2b league leaders and giant killer hopefuls, Edenderry and one of the main contenders Enniscorthy.

Title holder Ashbourne received a bye into round two while last years runners up Kilkenny face a south east derby with County Carlow at Foulkestown.

High Drama in Cup

Action from the All Ireland Cup Semi final between CIYMS and Dundalk, Pic: Andy Gray Photography

Ulster Bank All Ireland Junior Cup Semi Finals

Bangor are through to the Ulster Bank All Ireland Junior Cup semi final but CIYMS and Dundalk will have to do it all over again after a day of big crowds, tension, drama and total commitment in the competition.

Semi Final Results
Bangor 9, Clogher Valley 6
CIYMS 25, Dundalk 25

At Upritchard Park Bangor overcame last year’s runners up Clogher Valley 9-6 in an enthralling encounter between two well match sides.  It might have lacked for tries but it was a captivating contest from start to finish on the east coast.

Meanwhile, 20 miles away in Belfast city, CIYMS were also defying their pre match underdog status and arguably causing even more of a surprise with a brilliant display against Leinster league leaders Dundalk in what ended up a 25-25 draw.

Bangor v Clogher Valley Preview

Action from Bangor 15-12 victory over Clogher Valley in October in UQ1. Pic: Roger Corbett, Bangor RFC website.

All Ireland Junior Cup Semi Final

Bangor v Clogher Valley, Upritchard Park, Saturday 2:30

This could turn out to be the biggest attended club rugby match of the weekend, even the month, on Saturday. The locals come out in force when Bangor are on the rise and the men from the seaside town are on some run in this competition, but they preparing for a phenomenal test this weekend with last year’s runners up in town.

Clogher Valley will bring a healthy support of their own from Tyrone, Fermanagh and further afield. The reigning Qualifying League leaders came within a flailing arm of winning this title last year and it is the motivation for a lot of their stalwarts to keep the shoulder to the wheel this season, that and the fact that emerging players like Eugene McKenna, Richard  Primrose, Paul Armstrong and Mark Ellis are coming through the ranks to carry the torch forward.

CIYMS v Dundalk Preview


All Ireland Junior Cup Semi Final

CIYMS v Dundalk, Belmont, Saturday 2:30

The brains behind the best of Ulster club rugby will preach caution at the moment but they will acknowledge the progress all the same.

The provincial league clubs in Ulster are making huge strides forward this season occupying three of the four semi final spots in this year’s All Ireland Cup semi finals for the very first time since the competition started ten seasons ago.

Yet there is a sense that this is all as a result of hard work over five and more years across  a number of clubs that are feeling a surge at the moment. Munster have sent two teams in as many years to the AIL in recent seasons, Leinster have sent one up for six straight seasons while Ulster sides have come close but fell short.

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