Ballinrobe and Castlebar look to set up final showdown

Junior Rugby: Connacht Junior Cup Semi-Finals

FILE PHOTO

FILE PHOTO

This Sunday will see two Mayo rugby clubs look to book their place in the final of the showpiece competition of Connacht Junior Rugby.

Both Castlebar and Ballinrobe will be hitting the road in their quest for a spot in the final, with the south Mayo side heading to Monastary Field to take on Connemara, while Castlebar will be looking to take down Monivea on their own patch.

Ballinrobe's progress to the final four of the competition leaves them as the only side from outside the top flight of junior rugby in the province still left in the competition. They haven't reached this stage of the Junior Cup since 2007 and the last time they made it to the final was in 2003.

Standing in their way are a Connemara side who have seen off all before them in both league and cup action this season, the Monastery Field outfit sit proudly on top of the top division of junior rugby winning 12 from 12 in the J1A division. They are also the defending Junior Cup champions, having beaten Creggs 25-6 in last year's final. This season they have made their way back to the top four after seeing off Loughrea 15-6 on the road in the last 16 round and then had a 20-14 win over Creggs at home in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Ballinrobe currently sit in sixth place in the J1B table with three wins from their nine league games - but in the Junior Cup they have seen off Carrick-on-Shannon by the bare minimum in the round of 16, getting by on a scoreline of 15-14; then in the quarter-finals they had three points to spare over midlands based outfit Buccaneers in a 11-8 win to put them into this Sunday's semi-final, which gets underway at 2pm in Connemara.

Castlebar will be looking to make up for the disappointment of losing at this stage of the competition last season - when Creggs beat them 25-18 in Cloondeash, when they travel to Monivea on Sunday afternoon.

They will be fully confident that they have what it takes to make it back to the final for the first time since 1996, having twice beaten their opponents on Sunday in league action. In their last meeting in the league in December, Castlebar ran out 18-12 winners in Cloondeash, while they also picked up the points when they ran out 37-21 in November in Monivea.

The Mayo side currently sit one spot behind their hosts on Sunday in the league standings, having won five from 12 in the league - but they have played one game less in that competition. On their way to the semi-final this year, Castlebar saw off Tuam 17-14 in round two and then in the quarter-final they had six points to spare over Corrib to put themselves in Sunday's final four clash.

 

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