Local derbies dominated proceedings throughout Monday night’s Heineken Junior Cup draw.

All eight Junior 1A squads progressed automatically beyond the first round bootlaces (and balls) intact. The remaining Junior club contingents gasped gobsmacked as neighbour after neighbour emerged from the trophy.

Ballyhaunis and Dunmore will meet first up, as will Connemara and Ballinrobe. Little separates the pairings geographically, how that will play out where talent and tenacity is concerned remains to be seen. Loughrea, who hosted last night’s festivities (in conjunction with Moylan’s Pub, Main Street), drew none other than Portumna – their own closest rival. Ballinasloe and Sligo scored early in the competition nabbing the two vacant spots up for grabs, Carrick meets a resurgent Creggs, UCG host an in-form Buccaneers and Gort plays at home to Corrib.

JnrCup12_640x299Beyond the first round, the derbies continued to line up thick and fast.

City juggernauts Galwegians and Corinthians clash at Glenina sounding a tournament death knell for the bridesmaids – whomever they may be, and up in Mayo Westport will hope a home advantage and league history counts in their favour against Castlebar. That said, if Castlebar needed a post-Christmas shot in the arm, a do-or-die dust-up with those yonder will surely do the trick. And Monivea, league leaders thus far, host Tuam.

Tuam, who’ve not seriously threatened Monivea to date, remain the perennial bogey for many a favourite. Raw-boned and ready, Tuam is a sleeping dog come Cup competition time and is never more dangerous than a single score down with mere minutes on the clock.

Second round match-ups pit Ballina against one of Gort or Corrib, and Our Lady’s Boys Club away to either Carrick or Creggs.

Heineken, hardly an unfamiliar face here at the Sportsground, not only toast the annual Connacht Junior Cup but contribute much in the way of flavour and funding to its continued success. The IRFU’s Connacht Branch, (both domestic and professional), wishes to thank Pat Maher and John Cummins for their magnificent and much-appreciated support at grassroots level.


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