Grand Slam winning Ireland u20 and Connacht Stars Andrew Browne and Aidan Wynne with Sligo RFC President Tom Gilligan at the Heineken Junior Cup draw at the Glasshouse Hotel recently.
There was a very large attendance at the draw for the 2008 Heineken Connacht Junior Cup which took place in the Glasshouse Hotel on Monday evening last. This is the first occasion that the draw was held in Sligo. Local interest featured on Sligo’s opponents in the competition. The host club escaped being drawn in the preliminary round, and were pitted against Tuam [away] in the first round on Sunday January 26th. If they are successful in this game they will could face current league leaders, Monivea, in Hamilton Park on February 9th. The winners of this tie will have a home semi-final, while the final will be held in the Galway Sportsgrounds in April.
All cup draws are strewn with banana skins, so there is no such thing as an easy tie. Tuam are not having a good season so they will certainly look to the cup to salvage something. If Sligo manage to emerge victorious here they will surely relish a tilt at Monivea, who are enjoying a tremendous season, in the quarter final. In the last two cup meetings between the sides i.e. in 2004 and 2005, Sligo were victorious on both occasions, winning the semi-final in Hamilton Park in 2004, and the final in the Sportsgrounds in 2005, so they will have no cup fears of the all-conquering Co Galway side.
The draw attracted a very large crowd to the Glasshouse. Among the attendance was the Connacht Branch President, Michael Cunningham [Westport], Connacht’s representative on the IRFU Committee, Leo Galvin [Buccaneers], the CEO of Connacht Rugby, Gerry Kelly, Connacht playing squad members, Aidan Wynne and Andrew Browne, the officers of the Connacht Branch, Administrator, Eamonn McGuffin, representatives from every club in the province, members of the Committtee of Sligo RFC, and players and supporters of the club. The evening was very kindly hosted by Heineken, who were represented by Barry McMahon and Pat Meagher, who is well known from his numerous television appearances, presenting ‘man of the match’ awards’ following European Heineken Cup games.
Sligo’s President, Tom Gilligan, welcomed the guests and the large gathering, and other speakers were Branch President, Michael Cunningham, CEO, Gerry Kelly and Pat Meagher [Heineken]. All speakers congratulated the Immediate club Past President, Michael O’Hehir, on the opening of his beautiful Glasshouse Hotel, and wished him every success in the future.