The draw for the Bank of Ireland Junior Cup has been made.
The tournament, which dates all the way back to 1905, is one of the premier cup competitions in the country. John Mulligan was joined by Connacht Rugby President Padraig Moran to conduct the draw for the 2023 edition.
Connemara RFC enter this year’s tournament looking to complete the three in a row, after defeating Buccaneers to claim the title in 2022, while sharing the title with Castlebar the season prior.
As 2022 Bank of Ireland Cawley Cup Champions, the Clifden-based club will be hoping to add even more silverware to their trophy cabinet.
Prior to the draw, Connacht Rugby President Padraig Moran discussed just what it means to our clubs.
He said: “The Bank of Ireland Junior Cup is one of the hardest fought cups in Connacht Rugby. It’s a special time in any player’s, team’s, and club’s year”.
He also touched upon the special memories that this trophy can bring to a community.
“When you win a Connacht Junior Cup together, it’s like a family and that’s what it’s all about – the spirit of rugby”, he added.
The draw saw Ballinrobe RFC drawn at home against Loughrea RFC, and Ballina 2nd XV facing Galwegians 2nd XV, in the two preliminary round games.
The winner of the former will face Ballinasloe RFC in the last 16, while the winner of the latter will take on Sligo RFC 2nd XV.
The draw threw out several other intriguing ties for the last 16, with defending champions Connemara hosting Buccaneers XV, Ballyhaunis travelling to Westport in a local derby, Corrib RFC hosting University of Galway, and Dunmore facing Castlebar.
Tuam will be travelling to Monivea, with both sides hoping to reach the quarterfinals, while Creggs and Corinthians 2nd XV game completes the draw.
The draw was also made for the Bank of Ireland Junior 1C Cup this week.
There are six teams involved in this competition. They are Tuam 2nd XV, Creggs 2nd XV, Oughterard, Carrick On Shannon, OLBC and Claremorris.
The quarter-final draw paired Creggs 2nd XV against Tuam 2nd XV and OLBC against Claremorris. The winners of those two games will play in the semi-final, while Oughterard will host Carrick on Shannon, who both got a bye past the quarter-final stage.
Connacht Rugby President Padraig Moran discussed the competitiveness of the competition after the draw.
He said: “You couldn’t rule out any of these sides having a good go at this competition. There has been some great work done by these clubs and this is another chance to show the progress that is being made by each club.”