It has been a season of rediscovery and rebirth for Castlebar rugby club. Last season saw the men from Cloondeash tumble out of the top division of junior rugby in the province. But they have picked themselves up and gone an impressive run in the league, winning eight of their 11 games, drawing one, and only losing two to sit eight points clear of Ballyhaunis at the top of the table with promotion in their grasp.
But it is in the cup they have really shown their quality over the past few months, they put 57 points on Carrick in the opening round on the first weekend in January, before they went to Creggs in round two and came home 12-0 winners setting up a mouth-watering quarter final away to Westport. The Bulls are a top four side in the division above Castlebar, but that did not bother the Castlebar men who tore into Westport with a powerful forward performance to overcome a half time deficit and come out 10-6 winners in Carrowholly thanks in large part to a David Staunton try. That win has set up Sunday’s encounter with Monivea in the last four. The draw has given Castlebar home advantage and they will be looking for every advantage they can get against the premier junior side in the province. Monivea are currently a massive 15 points clear at the top of the J1 table after 13 games and look odds on to claim their ninth league title in 12 years. But that is not going to worry Castlebar on Sunday, they have got this far thanks to their own abilities and qualities, and with home advantage they will not be fearing Sunday’s visitors. The last time that Castlebar reached a junior cup final was 17 years ago in 1996, and this year’s batch will be pulling out all the stops to make sure it does not go on any longer. Kick off on Sunday is at 2.30pm.