Eight West Cork players included in Munster squad for clash with Leinster
SKIBBEREEN Rugby Club President Mags Coombes says the club’s hosting of the Junior Interprovincial Series clash of Munster and Leinster this Saturday afternoon (2.30pm) will be a great occasion for West Cork rugby.
Skibbereen RFC was selected to host this match and the club has pulled out all the stops in recent weeks in preparation for the biggest game they have ever hosted.
‘It’s a huge honour and we are thrilled about it,’ Coombes said.
‘We have been a J1 club since 2003 and to host this game is as big an honour as we can get. We are looking forward to a great day.
‘We are hugely honoured that Ger Malone, president of the Munster Rugby Branch, is coming down to Skibbereen. We are hoping it will be a great occasion for West Cork rugby and a great celebration of West Cork rugby.’
At the start of the season, all clubs in Munster were asked to apply if they were interested in hosting Munster’s home fixture against Leinster in the junior interpro series. After consultation with the club committee members and officers, Skibbereen RFC formally applied. As past of the application letter, the club highlighted the continued growth of rugby in West Cork.
Next season’s Munster Junior League will see three West Cork teams compete in Division 1, with Skibbereen, Bandon and Clonakilty all there. Bandon Grammar School is recognised throughout the province as nursery of young rugby talent.
The exploits of the West Cork contingent – Rosscarbery’s John Hodnett and Kealkill’s Josh Wycherley – as part of the Grand Slam-winning Ireland U20 team is sign of rich talents emerging from the region. Additionally, the Munster senior squad has strong West Cork links in Darren Sweetnam and Fineen Wycherley while Skibbereen cousins Gavin and Liam Coombes are making a name for themselves with Munster too.
Also, and since its application was successful, Skibbereen’s U18.5 men’s team has been crowned Munster and All-Ireland champions.
Adding to the local interest this Saturday is that eight West Cork players have been included on the Munster junior panel. Skibbereen’s Kieran Shannon and Jack Breen, Bandon RFC’s Scott Kingston, Tom Ferguson, Ben Ridgeway and Kerry Desmond, Clonakilty RFC’s Olan Deane and Kinsale RFC’s Rob Armstrong are all involved. Bandon Rugby Club’s Kieran Essex is the forwards coach on the Munster team while James Neville is a selector.
The Junior Interprovincial Series is a unique competition as it showcases the very best players from each of the four provincial leagues in Ireland. Additionally, the competition is very distinct as provincial games take place at junior rugby club venues that would otherwise not have the opportunity to host high-profile matches.
The game will take place on Saturday, April 27th at 2.30pm in the Skibbereen Showgrounds. Live music and entertainment in the clubhouse will follow the game. Tickets will be available on the day. For more information and updates contact the Skibbereen RFC Facebook page, email [email protected] or ring 087-2140715.