With the emergence of Marist Athlone and Sligo Grammar as Supermac's Connacht Schools senior and junior league champions late last year, both have valid claims on their respective cup trophies.
Longtime open and underage Irish sports supporter Supermac's is on board again this year as schools and youth cup rugby primary sponsor. Supermac's managing director Pat McDonagh was on-site at the company's Tuam Road outlet on Friday, one of four formal schools cup launches about the Connacht rugby catchment.
"Rugby success depends on grassroots support at underage level which is why Supermac's sees its support of schools rugby as so important. And such a pleasure.
"The rugby profile in the region is riding high at the moment on account of heightened Heineken Cup interest," he said. "We're only too thrilled to be part of that wave."
Franchisees held cup competition launches in Sligo, Castlebar, Athlone's Monksland and Galway city's Tuam Road outlets. The launches followed Monday night's youths level club cup competition draws unveiled after the January Youths Meeting upstairs in Supermac's, Galway City Shopping Centre, Headford Road.
Senior league runners-up Sligo Grammar opened its cup campaign with an 11-3 victory at home over 2010 champions Colaiste Iognaid (The Jes'), whereas Westport's Rice College similarly advanced beyond the quarterfinal stage beating Development Cup runners-up Clifden Community College.
Senior league guns Marist Athlone edged out Calasanctius in Oranmore, and Garbally advance at Development Cup winner St Joseph's (The Bish') expense.
Both senior and junior cup semi-finals play out through next week following Ireland's Six Nations opener v Wales.
St Gerald's, Sligo's Summerhill, St Joseph's (The Bish'), St Joseph's Garbally, Marist Athlone, Clifden, Rice College, Calasanctius, the Jes', rugby rookies CBS Roscommon and Sligo Grammar all feature in this year's competition; SGS, Rice College, Marist, Calasanctius and The Bish contest both junior and senior titles.
Supermac's Connacht Schools junior and senior finals play-out as a double-bill on the Connacht Sportsground, scheduled for March 14.
pics: (from top)
Super Mac and the lunchboxers: Supermac's boss Pat McDonagh joined Oranmore's (Calasanctius) and The Jes' rugby youngsters for lunch on Friday, one of four cup rugby launches about the province's Supermac's franchises.
Power-loading: The Jes' Paul Power (right-hand corner) hoes into Supermacs/Papa John's finest, one of about a dozen Galway-based school pupils involved in the Supermac's Connacht Schools cup and league competitions this winter.
Northern Front: Battle raged in the first senior cup quarterfinal between Sligo Grammar and cup-holders Colaiste Iognaid. SGS advanced by way of a hardfought 11-3 win at home.
Castlebar Cohort: Paul Jennings (in green) joined Supermacs staff and Castlebar students for the Connacht Schools Cup launch, one of four around the Connacht catchment recently.