Three schools in Connacht’s rugby catchment have a rare opportunity to assert cup rugby supremacy next week.

Westport’s Rice College, Sligo Grammar and Marist Athlone have each staked claims boasting semi-final berths in junior and senior cup competitions. The rugby triumvirate will contest Supermac’s Connacht Schools Junior and Senior cup semi-finals next week.

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The Senior semi-final between Rice College and Marist Athlone will commence at 1.30pm, Tuesday 21 February, on the Westport Rugby Club’s Corrowholly pitch. The other, is on Grammar grounds Wednesday, February 22, at 1.30pm.

The Rice College v Bish Junior match-up is a 1.30pm kickoff, on Monday, March 5, on Westport RFC’s Carrowholly pitch. The Sligo Grammar v Marist semi-final is Tuesday 21 February, 2.45pm at Grammar.

Marist Athlone’s Juniors – by virtue of a development cup victory “wildcard” entry to the premier competition – play away.

Junior cup rugby, its match results more prone to individual flair and broken play breakouts than the more-structured senior competition, is nigh on impossible to pick.

Rice at home pose a formidable challenge, the 90 minutes travel from Galway to Westport not ideal for match preparation. Grammar, having already won the league championship in December, probably have the bookies’ backing, especially given Marist’s cup entry came by way of the development cup. Battle experience against premier opposition may hurt Athlone in the dying stages.

Grammar and Garbally, in one senior decider, have history to burn on both sides. While Garbally perhaps boasts a kilo-advantage up front, the Sligo youngsters have the most recent finals rugby experience losing a nailbiter to Marist in the senior league final in December. Rice and league champions Marist Athlone are both viable contenders to add to their trophy cabinets. The Athlone backs, at full strength, should prove too slick and too slippery for their Mayo hosts but on a heavy track the Rice forwards may yet deny Athlone’s finest from seeing too much possession. Conditions may dictate which way the axe falls next week, but on paper Athlone has the inside running for one final berth.

Times and dates have not yet been finalised due to examination timetables. Matches are by own arrangement between affected colleges. Updates will appear on Connacht Rugby’s domestic site throughout the cup competition.

Related

Club & Community statement following the conclusion of domestic rugby season