Irish domestic rugby takes a break from league action for round two of this season’s AIB Cup.
Galwegians will open their campaign with a fixture against Dublin University, while Corinthians are on the road again when they meet UCC. Matches will be played on Saturday (2.30pm ).
Galwegians have been blessed in the last two seasons with a favourable draw. Two years ago they advanced to the semi-finals, while last year Ballynahinch put paid to their hopes at the quarter-final stage. Now in this second-round fixture, Galwegians are up against Dublin University, the division 2 outfit that has lost its opening two league fixtures.
Galwegians, who have picked up six points from their division 1B outings, must be favoured to advance to the next round. They will not want to take anything for granted against a lively Trinity outfit, but they should prove too strong.
Corinthians face a tough battle when they travel to division 1B outfit UCC. This will be a real test of Corinthians’ development this season, having overcome division 3 side Wanderers by 33 - 20 in extra time. UCC have lost both opening league matches to leaders Old Belvedere and second-placed Ballymena, so they will be looking for a strong cup run, particularly on home ground.
Buccaneers also have a difficult draw as they travel to division 1A side Shannon, while also on the domestic front is the start of the women’s interprovincial championship with Leinster hosting Connacht in Donnybrook on Sunday (2.30pm ).
Galwegians picked up two valuable points on their first away fixture of this year’s AIB League division 1B. However the Galway outfit had the chance to take full points against Ballynahinch at Ballymacarn Park, but failed to convert the last kick of the game that would have given them a one-point victory.
Galwegians, dominating the opening half hour, took the lead with a Mark Butler converted try, but in the final 10 minutes of the half the home side found their rhythm. They racked up 15 points with two tries and a penalty to put them 15-7 in front.
However on the stroke of half time Butler scored a second try to put the Blues right back into the contest, but he missed the conversion to leave them 15-12 in arrears.
The home side extended their lead when Ireland u-20 Nevin Spence crossed for a third try followed by a Bambry penalty.
But Wegians never gave in and winger John Cleary bagged a try, which Butler converted. However after Wegians secured a late pushover try, Butler missed the final conversion, and had to settle for two bonus points courtesy of four tries and losing by less than seven.
Corinthians earned their first points in division two of this season’s AIB League when they overcame Terenure on Saturday.
Hvaing suffered a heavy defeat to UCD in their opening match, the newly-promoted Galway side raised their game and were deserving of their first league points.
Corinthians played the better and controlled rugby on the day. New Connacht recruit from New Zealand, Thomas Timani, showed his class by scoring a try both sides of half time, while Darin Classens looks to be getting back to his best with excellent support play and good lines of running.
Terenure were kept in the game by former Leinster player David McAllister whose accurate goal kicking reduced the deficit to 9-11 at half time. However the advantage turned in favour of the Galway men after Terenure’s second row Alex Givcal was shown a straight red for a punch to Corinthian’s No 8 Shane Conneely.
With Corinthians’ scrum solid and Shane Mullaly enjoying an excellent outing at outhalf, Corinthians prevailed. Terenure did get in for a try, but Mullaly beat his defenders to score the vital winning score at the end of the game.