The AIL Junior Cup quarter finals take place this weekend and there are two Ulster Clubs still involved with Ballyclare RFC hosting Wicklow RFC at the Cloughan and CIYMS RFC make the long trip to Tipperary to play Clonmel RFC.

It’s been a while since an Ulster Club has won this competition, City of Derry being the last in 2010 in an all Ulster final against Armagh RFC, however, Clogher Valley (2014), Bangor (2015) and Instonians (2016) have all made cup final appearances since then.

There is a huge contrast between the league form of the two Ulster sides. Ballyclare sit at the top of both the League and Conference with a 100% record winning six from six in the league and seven from seven in the conference, picking up a bonus point win  in every game. CI on the other hand have yet to record a win in either though they did draw against Carrick in September.

CIYMS face tough opposition in Clonmel with the Munster side undefeated in their provincial league this season. The Belfast side have been running in the tries but they have conceded even more and defence is definitely their problem. However, this is a cup game and if they tighten up their defence they look to have the firepower to cause an upset, they did run in a hatful against Monivea RFC in their 32 – 13 win in their last round.

Ballyclare will go into their game with a fair degree of confidence and rightfully so. The East Antrim club have also been scoring plenty and in Joel McBride they have a player that knows his way to the try line. They will be wary that their one slip up this season was a cup match, with Dromore turning them over in the Ulster Junior Cup. However, they look to have recovered their “cup form” in the last round with a 10 – 21 away win at Connemara RFC.

Wicklow RFC recorded a big win in the last round, 52 – 3 at home to Kilfeacle & District RFC, and have been performing well in the Leinster J1 League, with Junior Cup holders Ashbourne RFC one of their recent victims, but they did lose to Gorey in a tight affair at Ashtown Lane last time out.

I’m expecting a tight match at The Cloughan tomorrow and it’ll be one of our Featured Games this weekend.

Junior Cup – Quarter Finals in full

Sat 10th Nov 18 14:30 QF Ballyclare RFC v Wicklow RFC The Cloughan
Sat 10th Nov 18 14:30 QF Clonmel RFC v CIYMS RFC Ardgaoithe
Sat 10th Nov 18 14:30 QF Enniscorthy RFC v Dundalk RFC Ross Road
Sat 10th Nov 18 14:30 QF Waterpark RFC v Ashbourne RFC Ballinakill