Provincial Towns Cup second round preview
February 7, 2019 / 11:23 am / Site Editor
The Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup resumes this weekend with seven second round fixtures taking place on Sunday, 10 February (all games KO 3pm).
A fascinating weekend’s action lies in store with clubs hoping for upsets or to relive former glories. The quarter-final draw also takes place immediately after the Skerries 2nds v Enniscorthy game in Holmpatrick.
Here, we take a look at what to expect from this round of games:
Tullow v Wicklow
As far as round two clashes go, this is box office. Last year’s beaten finalists and 2017 winners, Tullow, take on the 2016 winners, Wicklow, who they also beat in last year’s semi-final.
Wicklow had a bye in round one while Tullow received a walkover from Mullingar
Wicklow haven’t played a competitive game since losing to Boyne on 12 January but still sit third in 1A while Tullow are mid-table in 1B. Being a cup game will add another element to an already hard to call fixture.
Skerries 2nd XV v Enniscorthy
Last month’s All-Ireland Junior Cup loss to Ashbourne will have upset Enniscorthy and, being many people’s favourites for the Towns Cup, they will look to make a statement here.
Standing in their way will be a Skerries side who had to come from behind to beat Newbridge in the first round. Home advantage stood to them on that day and they’ll hope it counts again on Sunday, albeit against top quality opposition.
Naas 2nd XV v Gorey (Re-fixed for Saturday, 23 February)
Second in Division 1A, Gorey will fancy their chances when they make the trip to Naas, especially off the back of a comprehensive first round win over Portlaoise.
Naas were ruthless in their win against North Kildare in the first round, and will hope Cillian Dempsey can maintain the same form with the boot.
They scored three tries in the last seven minutes in that game and might need that stamina to show again if they are to hold off Gorey.
Kilkenny v Clondalkin
Clondalkin were the second highest scorers in the opening round as they put 69 points on Balbriggan with Simon King helping himself to a hat-trick. They are a powerful team that know where the try line is and won’t have any fear of taking on teams.
Kilkenny had a tricky away date with Co Carlow in the opening round but they came through it 25-21. They took their chances when opportunities arose.
The winner will fancy their chances of a run in the cup.
Edenderry v Ashbourne
Ashbourne return to Edenderry this weekend, the scene of their recent All-Ireland Junior Cup triumph over Enniscorthy.
They will be making the trip as hot favourites to beat the home side who are currently leading Division 2B but Edenderry will take a lot of confidence from their 47-3 first round win over Portarlington.
Dundalk v Wexford Wanderers
Wanderers have been making massive strides in recent years and are in a strong position to challenge for promotion in Division 1B. On the flip side, Dundalk are engulfed in a relegation battle in 1A.
Dundalk’s first round win was a much needed bit of momentum and crucially, they will not be making the trip to Wexford for this tie.
Dundalk will be tentative favourites while a win for Wexford would be a shock of sorts but not a major one, based on their current form.
Boyne v Longford
Boyne’s first round Towns Cup win against New Ross has given them a timely boost, as they followed it up with a win over Wicklow.
With the Louth club at the foot of 1A and Longford second in 1B, a close run game is expected. Prior to Boyne’s round one win and subsequent form, confidence might have tipped the balance in favour of Longford but it’s now set-up nicely for this weekend.
Arklow v Tullamore 2nd XV
Arklow, backed by Towns Cup winning experience of Joe Bulmer and Anthony O’Donnell, welcome another Midlands team in this round having already dispatched Midland Warriors.
With little knowledge of playing against eachother, it could be an interesting game as both sides try and size the other up.
Tullamore will have a sprinkling of AIL experience in their team and whichever side makes the last eight from this tie, will no doubt have earned it.