Roscrea bid to avenge 2009 final defeat

THERE is a unique tri-county element to the Roscrea CC team that will take to the field in this afternoon’s All-Ireland Vocational SAHC final in Semple Stadium.

Clubs from Tipperary, Offaly and Laois supply players to a school chasing their first title at this level since 1991.

“It is very unique in the sense that there’s an interest in three counties how we get on,” admitted coach Willie Smith.

“From Tipperary our main two clubs would be Roscrea and Moneygall, which is all about Obama at the moment, while sometimes we’d get the odd few from Clonakenny. Then from Offaly you’d get players from Coolderry, Shinrone and Ballyskenagh. Finally Camross and Borris-in-Ossory would be the teams supplying us from Laois.”

Despite their pick of players crossing borders, the school’s pursuit of titles has been fruitless in recent times. Their two crowns were gained in 1980 and 1991 with final defeats in 1989, ‘95, ‘98 and ‘09.

That most recent defeat occurred against St Brigid’s (Loughrea), who again provide the opposition today.

“We’ve a couple of lads from that 2009 team and you’d always hope to redeem yourself after a defeat like that. It was a devastating experience but you just have to pick it up and go again. This now is the second final we’ve been in since the three schools in the town — the Convent, the CBS and the Vocational School — all amalgamated.

“The other school in the town Cistercian College would be a completely different entity especially as they are a boarding school who’d be getting players from as far away as Galway, Wexford and Clare. We’ve 700 students now in our school which is mixed and we’d love to get some All-Ireland success for the school.”

Smith identified the key game in this year’s campaign as their Munster quarter-final tie against last year’s provincial champions Causeway.

“They’d beaten us in the last two Munster junior finals so that was the crunch game for us. We managed to win it well and after having lost our first round to Bandon, it was after the Causeway match that we started to gain a bit of confidence.

“We beat Clonakilty in the semi-final and then Borrisokane in the final, a game which had a real local derby element to it. We faced Johnstown in the All-Ireland semi-final and performed very well, and it’s about maintaining that form now in the final.”

Picture: Roscrea’s James Bergin breaks clear during the Munster semi-final against Clonakilty. Picture: Dan Linehan

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