Evan Cusack returns as Ardscoil Rís seek revenge on Glenstal Abbey

Giantkillers Ardscoil Rís have their sights set on another scalp as they face Glenstal Abbey in the Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup semi-final at Thomond Park today (2.30pm).
Evan Cusack returns as Ardscoil Rís seek revenge on Glenstal Abbey

Weeks after providing the shock of the tournament with a last-gasp 9-7 victory over joint favourites Christian Brothers Cork, Ardscoil go into battle against another of the fancied teams.

Glenstal Abbey won the Limerick Schools Cup earlier this year, beating Ardscoil convincingly, but Ardscoil’s chances of revenge are boosted by the return of playmaker Evan Cusack.

“Evan’s return from a dislocated shoulder is a significant boost,” said coach Kevin Long. “He’s a really creative footballer. We have been lucky enough in the sense that we’re getting players back rather than losing them, that’s always a positive.”

After a heavy opening round defeat (40-5) to PBC, the victory over Christians has put a spring in the Ardscoil step and Long hopes it has instilled belief in the group.

“It was an amazing victory over Christians. It would rank up there with one of our best victories and probably one of the most amazing wins in schools rugby in many a year. Our loss in the first round was comprehensive but there is nothing like knock-out rugby to focus the mind.”

After wins over St Clement’s and Rockwell, Glenstal’s Sean Skehan says his team will need to improve to reach the final. “I think you have to be prepared for them being at the level they were against CBC, and not based on their opening round loss to PBC or on the basis of a big win we had over them earlier in the season.

“Ardscoil Rís played really well against Christians. Earlier on, they had some injury issues and Cusack is one of the players coming back. He is a really quality player and we’re expecting a full-on challenge.

“We know we will have to be better than we have been, even though we were happy enough with our displays in the first two rounds, because a semi-final is a big step up.”

ARDSCOIL RIS:

D O’Gormon, C O’Rahilly, C Madden, G Clancy, M Gorman, E Cusack, C Casey, A O’Callaghan, C Slater, F Lyons, D O’Grady, R Whelan, L Clohessy, I Brown, O Ring.

Replacements:

R Tucker, M Gaule, C O’Brien, C Cusack, S Hanley, M Noonan, H Fenton, C Murphy, D O’Byrne.

GLENSTAL ABBEY:

J O’Mahony, T Molony, J Mawhinney, L Fitzgerald, R Quinn, B Healy, T McCoole, S Scanlon-Garry, G Downing, E Bergin, C O’Sullivan, S Downes, C Booth, M Fleming, R Clarke.

Replacements:

P Mulligan, P Prendergast, H Downing, D Kelly, M Walsh, A Walsh, A Egan, D Floyd, E Callaghan, A Hogan.

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