The intense rivalry between neighbouring rugby clubs Newbridge and Cill Dara will soon move to a new level…

For the first time both clubs will play off in a Ryder Cups style event in which every single team from the minis to the senior firsts will participate.

It will include both club’s ladies teams as well as their respective Under-21 and youths squads in a day long event at Beechpark on 12 September.

The Jon Conlan Memorial Cup is named after a young man who died tragically this year after a two and a half year battle against testicular cancer.

His grandfather Sean was a founding member of Cill Dara and his uncle Peter remains a stalwart club man.

While the rivalry between the clubs is intense there are many close friendships between the members of which John was the epitome.

Barry McCann, a former Newbridge club captain and a current senior player went to school with John and remained close friends until his death.

“He was a real relaxed character, a happy-go-lucky, easy going type,” recalled Barry.

“He enjoyed his golf, as well,” he added.

The August before he died Jon organised a golf tournament in aid of hospice care and this year his friends carried on the charity fundraiser in his absence.

Despite Jon’s close ties with Cill Dara, Barry explained that his former Dominican College classmate was persuaded to don a Newbridge shirt for a handful of friendly matches.

The senior matches on Saturday will have an added competitive edge with the fixtures counting in the North Midlands Hosie and Lalor Cups.

Both teams are unbeaten in the competition after two rounds of matches, including Newbridge’s win over holders Clane who defeated Cill Dara in last year’s final.

On Saturday each match between the two clubs will worth a point which will go to decide the inaugural holders of the Jon Conlan Memorial Cup.

Matches start with the minis at Cill Dara RFC at 11am this Saturday, 12th September.