The countdown is on to this year's Six Nations U18 Festival which kicks off in Cork on March 26.
The festival, which is sponsored by The Bowen Group, will see the national teams from England, Ireland, France, Italy, Scotland and Wales play a series of matches at Musgrave Park, Cork Constitution FC, Mardyke (UCC) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) from March 26th until April 1st. Admission to all the matches is free. Here we provide you with some more information on the venues for all of the games during the festival.
Address: The Mardyke, Western Road, Cork
Contact: Prof Nollaig Parfrey
Telephone: 021 4901247
Fax: 021 4541200
The Mardyke is the home pitch of the University College Cork's rugby union club, which is also used by UCC Soccer Club, and UCC's Gaelic games clubs. It was formerly the chief venue for football in Cork, and a crowd of 18,000 watched a friendly match in 1939 between the Ireland and Hungary, the first international played outside Dublin. All the playing fields are floodlit.
UCC compete in the AIB League and have many well known former coaches that who include Pat Aherne, Brian Hickey, Peter Melia, Brian Hyland and Pat Murray. Well known players over the AIB League seasons have included Dominic Crotty, Ronan O'Gara (one season), Peter Stringer John Kelly, Denis Leamy, Frank Murphy, Richie Lane and Denis Hurley.
The Mardyke will play host to France V Scotland, Italy V Wales and Ireland V Italy in the U18 Six Nations.
Club: Cork Constitution
Address: Temple Hill, Ballintemple, Cork
Contact: Mr Jack O' Sullivan
Telephone: 021 4536820 / 087 25
Fax: 021 4536801
Temple Hill is the home of Cork Constitution's grounds and is located at Ballintemple. There are three playing pitches at the grounds and in 2002 Constitution took a major step forward with the switching on of TV standard floodlights on the main pitch that has terracing on two sides and a 300-seat stand. The other pitches have high quality floodlights suitable for training.
Former well known players include Ronan O'Gara, Frankie Sheahan and Donncha O'Callaghan all who were in the Ireland party for the 2003 Rugby World Cup where Ireland lost to Australia in the quarter final.
Ronan O'Gara was selected for the Lions to Australia in 2001 and again to New Zealand in 2005. Donnncha O'Callaghan joined him in New Zealand in 2005 playing in two tests. Donal Lenihan was the Lions manager in Australia and Constitution clubman Pat O'Keeffe was baggage master for the team.
Temple Hill is the venue for England V Italy and Wales V France in the U18 Six Nations.
Address: Cork Institute of Technology, Rossa Avenue, Bishopstown,
Contact: Mr Don Spicer.
Telephone: : +353-(0)21-4326320
Cork Institute of Technology will host the England and France game in round two of the U18 Six Nations tournament.
The CIT club has supplied many players to Ireland teams at all levels from Ireland Schools up to full Ireland level. Richard Wallace, Jack Clarke, David Wallace, Donnacha O'Callaghan and Denis Leamy have been capped for Ireland and many other players have won high honours.
In 2006, CIT and nearby club Highfield RFC announced a link-up to form an innovative new Rugby Academy . The link saw the establishment of rugby bursaries for students attending CIT with the holders to be part of the new Highfield Rugby Academy. The bursaries were sponsored by BOC Gases.
Academy members have a full programme of weights training and nutrition and skills training available to them throughout the season. They also have use of the superb facilities at CIT including the all weather running track and the modern gym. These facilities have been frequently used by the Munster rugby team. The club is eagerly anticipating the arrival of the England and France teams in the coming weeks.
Telephone: 00353 (0) 21 4323563
Fax: 00353 (0) 21 4323956
Musgrave Park is a stadium Cork city which is one of Munster Rugby's home grounds. The ground consists of four terraces and one stand on the west side. Munster are currently playing all of their non-Heineken Cup fixtures in Musgrave until the current redevelopment of Thomond Park is completed. It has a capacity of between 7,000 and 8,000 and is situated on Pearse Road, Ballyphehane, Cork. Two local Cork rugby teams are also based at Musgrave Park with both Dolphin RFC and Sundays Well RFC having their club houses at the grounds.
Musgrave Park will host three games in the U18 Six Nations - Ireland versus Wales, Ireland versus Scotland, and Scotland versus England.