Castletroy’s sensational last-minute victory over Presentation has made everyone sit up and take notice of the small guys. Not least amongst them was Christians head coach Pat Langtry, who noted: “There will be no talk about past achievements. We are aware that the only thing that matters is the future, and that’s in the performance we can produce in Monday’s game.”
A wise man is Langtry, given that Castletroy’s triumphant march came via quality performances over Rockwell and then that stunning win over PBC.
Add in the boost of winning a first trophy — in the form of the junior cup last week — and the Limerick side clearly look to be on a roll.
Their coach Martín Burke admitted: “We have a tough act to follow what the junior boys achieved on Wednesday, but rather than putting pressure on us, I feel it’s a big boost.”
If Castletroy achieve nothing more, Burke will still look back happily on what he describes as one of the best schools cup games he has witnessed; that semi-final against PBC.
“It was a smashing game played with great spirit; it could have gone either way and we were delighted to be able to storm back at the end to get the win. It was great for the confidence of the side,” he said.
Still, he knows that today will be a different story, saying: “Different opposition, different type of challenge, we’ve watched them, they’ve watched us and I’m sure it will be a very close contest.
“It’s new territory for us being in a final, but I don’t feel the guys will be overawed,” he added.
Which brings it back to Langtry, who has seen his side forced to work incredibly hard for victories over Ard Scoil Ris and Glenstal in the last two rounds.
On both counts, Christians were deserving winners but neither did they reach the heights expected of them.
Langtry added: “Glenstal were knocking on the door against us right to the final whistle and I think they were a very accomplished side, the best that we played.
“It’s always a good thing to emerge on the right side after a really tough game and I feel that match will have done us good; it will certainly be good preparation for what is bound to be another tough match against a very strong Castletroy side that has scoring power up front and behind the scrum,” he said.
Happily, both sides have avoided any serious injury problems, although knocks to Mike O’Dwyer and Darragh Hannan have forced Castletroy to name nine substitutes before culling that list to seven on the day.
Christians hope captain Brian O’Callaghan is in his usual inspirational form and that Jack Bransfield, James Mulcahy and Kyle O’Dwyer can make their trademark contributions.
Patrick Parfery is a quick breaking out half blessed with good distribution skills, while Darren Loftus and Odhran Mulrooney have so far been the most consistent of the decent back division.
But Castletroy can claim considerable talent as well, with captain Paul Dooley hoping to emulate his younger brother Michael, who scored three tries in the junior decider!
Darragh Frawley, Eoin Sweeney and Padraig Hogan are others in the Castletroy pack to stand out, while Christians will have to be constantly on guard to minimise the danger from centre Diarmaid McCarthy and winger Darren Moran, who are the stars amongst a fairly accomplished back division.
It all makes for a fascinating final and with Castletroy guaranteed huge support from Limerick, this could go right to the wire.
CASTLETROY: C. Joyce-Power, D. Moroney, K. Clancy, D. McCarthy, C. Dillon, D. Byrne, P. Murray, C. Laffan, P. Hogan, S. Murphy, P. Dooley (captain), D. Frawley, K. Doyle, E. Sweeney, D. Bonfil.
Replacements (from) D. Quinlan, J. Rael, M. O’Dwyer, M. Foley, D. Hannan, M. Hanrahan, A. Carey, P. O’Connor, C. Moran.
CBC: O. Mulrooney, D. Loftus, J. Holland, B. O’Regan, B. O’Leary, P. Parfrey, D. Foley, C. Corkery, K. Stokes, J. Bransfield, J. Mulcahy, K. O’Dwyer, J. Crowley, B. O’Callaghan (captain), W. Ryan.
Replacements. G. Finneran, A. Joyce, R. Martin, B. Hayes, B. Slater, D. Dunne, B. Fleming.
Referee: G. Clancy (M.A.R)