The Ravens bowed out of this seasons B & I Cup with another defeat yesterday afternoon at a deserted Ravenhill.
Tries from Davis Houston, Michael Heaney and Allen Whitten plus three penalties from Niall O’Connor were just not enough to see off Moseley who stormed back from a 13 – 0 deficit to take the game at the end.
However, more worrying than the result was the distinct lack of interest in this fixture by Ulster Rugby and the Ulster rugby public in a competition which really needs the support of the larger teams if it is to survive.
Little has been done this side of the water to promote these fixtures with dates being changed and venues re-arranged at short notice which is far from satisfactory for the paying public. Add to this the lack of continuity with the fixtures spread over the season and it is difficult to build up any momentum.
If managed correctly with a shorter pool section and a bit of backing from the larger teams this could be a cracking competition. Over it’s two short years it’s introduced the likes of Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, Nevin Spence, Patrick Jackson, Iain Henderson, Blane McIlroy, Ian Porter, Conor Gaston, David McGuigan, Chris Cochrane, Tommy Seymour and many others to the rigours of semi-pro rugby giving them a valuable stepping stone on their way to the professional standard they aspire to.
In some cases it’s been a harsh lesson, but in most the youngsters have excelled and it would be a great pity if they were to loose this valuable step in their development through lack of interest.