It is a novel pairing for the Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup final at Musgrave Park on Sunday as Glenstal Abbey, in their third decider, face Christian Brothers College Cork, who have merrily picked up silverware over the decades.
The Murroe outfit target a first crown and will be underdogs again, just as in defeat to Presentation Brothers, Cork, last year. That was Glenstal’s first decider since 1970, when they were beaten by Rockwell after a replay.
In his first year at the helm as senior head coach at CBC, Tommy Crowe is in no mood to see his charges walk into a trap, stressing the level of respect Glenstal have earned for themselves over the past two seasons.
As he reported a clean bill of health for his first-choice team and mostly good news in relation to the squad — Harry O’Riordan is the only change as he joins the bench to replace the injured JD O’Hea — Crowe warned there can be absolutely no complacency.
A little over 12 months ago, a fancied Christians side were dumped out of the competition at the quarter-final stage when they lost to a late penalty in the 9-7 defeat to unfancied Ardscoil Rís.
Those that survived from that campaign have every reason to remember that game and Crowe admits it still hurts: “The bitter taste of defeat has driven the boys a bit this year without the shadow of a doubt. Cup games are cup games, be it in any sport, cup competition can be full of danger and you only get one crack at it.”
In terms of the marvellous CBC record in the competition, Crowe said: “This is a final and an opportunity to add to our list of titles, but it’s only about this year, you can’t be living in the past in terms of achievements, so we’re very conscious that we need to get ourselves right for this game and this game only.”
Christians displayed their battling instincts when coming from 15 down against arch-rivals PBC in the semi-final. Crowe won’t be fooled by the favourites’ tag, pointing to Glenstal’s semi-final victory over “high-class opposition”.
“We would be around long enough to know that finals are never won on paper, we have looked through the track record of Glenstal this current year and they have done very well against a lot of top teams. Any side that can put 30 points on Crescent in the semi-final we would be vary wary of.
“I’m going back a bit to earlier in the season when it became very apparent that Glenstal would be real contenders this season. They have a very good record against a lot of very good teams. I can say with certainty that the Crescent side had several stars, plenty of representative players, so that would have raised alarm bells for us that they (Glenstal) managed to score 30 points against them and win in such a fashion.
“This has been a tough campaign. There were four very good teams in the semi-finals and one or two that got knocked out in the quarter-finals as well, but Glenstal are one of those four good teams.
“But we are here now, both of us, Glenstal are in their second final in succession and they will bring the experience of that to this game whereas only one of our guys has been involved in the cup at this stage before.
“We will take it as it comes but we know that it will take a very good performance to beat this Glenstal team.”
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