CBC, holders of the Clayton Hotels sponsored Munster Schools Senior Cup, play Castletroy College from Limerick in the first defence of their record 30th title.
Christians edged past great rivals, PBC, 5-3 in last year’s final, when a try from hooker and captain Scott Buckley proved the difference in a tight game in which Pres’s defence was outstanding.
Pres, themselves, also face Limerick opponents in Crescent College Comprehensive in a tie, which would normally be the stand-out fixture, but with a back-door round, every team gets a second chance.
Bandon Grammar School, who reached the semi-finals last season, losing to Pres by 19-18 in a dramatic encounter, face either Rockwell College or newcomers High School, Clonmel who meet in an all-Tipperary round 1 game.
That is pencilled in for the week starting January 13, when Árdscoil Rís take on the 2017 champions, Glenstal Abbey.
Second round games are listed for the week of January 27, followed by the two round 3 games on the week beginning February 10.
The semi-finals are a fortnight later with the final set for the week of March 16.
There’s a new addition to the junior cup, also, with Coláiste Pobal from Bantry making an historic first appearance in a round 1 west Cork derby against Bandon Grammar School on the week starting January 20.
The Bantry school qualified by defeating High School, Clonmel, 30-0 and Villiers School, Limerick, 39-5.
Rockwell College are the defending champions following their 23-12 win over St Munchin’s, when the Cashel school bridged a 22-year gap in claiming a 20th title.
Pres meet either Castletroy or Glenstal Abbey in round 2 and it’s CBC against St Munchin’s at the same stage.
Teams in both competitions were involved in a new preparatory tournament in the early part of the season with schools divided into two sections.
Cork’s big two topped the groups, Christians winning all four games and Pres winning three and drawing the other. Árdscoil Rís and Glenstal finished last.
Meanwhile, Cork players are represented in Ireland U18 Schools and Ireland U18 Clubs/Schools squads for a three-day camp at the IRFU’s High Performance Centre in Abbotstown between December 28-30.
The first named squad also contains club players, including the Cobh Pirates pair of Edwin Edugobo and Jack O’Sullivan, as well as the PBC duo, Darragh French and Daniel Hurley, along with CBC’s Shane Buckley.
The Clubs/Schools squad, which is coached by former Munster and Ireland flanker, Denis Leamy, contains a Douglas RFC player, Ihechi Oji, together with CBC’s George Coomber and Luke McAuliffe and Pres’s Patrick Campbell, who won an All-Ireland minor football medal with Cork during the year, and Darragh McSweeney.
The Schools team will be involved in the 6 Nations Festival in Marcoussis, the French Rugby’s High Performance base in Paris, from April 4-12.
The Schools/Club side will play England Counties in two games in the same month.
The senior cup draw is: R1: Rockwell College v High School, Clonmel; Árdscoil Rís v Glenstal Abbey. Week starting January 13.
R2: PBC v Crescent College Comprehensive; Bandon Grammar School v Rockwell College or High School, Clonmel; St Munchin’s v Árdscoil Rís or Glenstal Abbey; CBC v Castletroy College. Week starting January 27.
R3: Loser PBC v Crescent College Comprehensive v winner Bandon Grammar School/Rockwell College/High School, Clonmel; loser CBC v Castletroy College v winner St Munchin’s/ Árdscoil Rís/ Glenstal Abbey. Week starting February 10.
R4: Round 2 winners v round 3 winners. Week starting February 24.
Final: Week starting March 16.
The junior cup draw is: R1: Bandon Grammar School v Coláiste Pobail Beantrai; Castletroy College v Glenstal Abbey. Week starting January 20.
R2: Árdscoil Rís v Rockwell College; Crescent College Comprehensive v Bandon Grammar School or Coláiste Pobail Beantrai; PBC v Castletroy or Glenstal Abbey; CBC v St Munchin’s. Week starting February 3.
R3: Loser Árdscoil Rís v Rockwell College v winner Crescent College Comprehensive/Bandon Grammar School/ Coláiste Pobail Beantrai; loser CBC v St Munchin’s v winner PBC/Castletroy College/Glenstal Abbey. Week starting February 24.
R4: Round 2 winners v round 3 winners. Week starting March 2.
Final: Week starting March 23.