They’ll travel by car, bus and train, 2,000 or more of them, and they’ll help provide the most atmospheric occasion of this season’s Ulster Bank League. With a sniff of glory, Young Munster do the travel bit well, so today’s semi-final clash with Cork Constitution at Temple Hill (2.30pm) promises to be an afternoon to remember.
With their own supporters and neutrals factored in, Constitution will be guaranteed a financial bonanza after winning home advantage with a sensational injury-time bonus point victory over Galwegians last week.
Yet, Young Munster head coach David Corkery believes having to play in Cork won’t be an impossible disadvantage, with faith in his charges and vocal supporters. Following his departure from Temple Hill’s coaching team last season, Corkery has warmed to his task at the helm of this grand old Limerick club and the fans have warmed to him off the back of results.
That relationship will be taken a stage further should they win today and Corkery insists it is not out of the question: “Both teams like to play it wide and we’re not traditional in a sense; in times past the club were better known for producing very successful forwards but this year I would go as far as to say that our backs are possibly more dangerous than our forwards. We have very good players out the back that like to play a bit of ball and the weather conditions, we’re led to believe, will suit both sides. Hopefully, we’ll see another good game between two good teams. I won’t go on about it and say this is just another game because it isn’t. I won’t go on about us beating them at home and in Cork this season because these don’t mean a thing ine context of this game.
“This is a semi-final, it’s a cup game against Cork Con who have a great tradition in the AIL and a huge tradition in cup competition. There’s a huge amount at stake for both clubs. It’s nice Munster teams are finally in the melting pot and that one will be in the final after the dominance of the Leinster clubs over the last few years, so there’s a huge amount to play for.
“This is cup rugby, there’s no next week for the losers, we have to empty the tank on this one because we only get one crack at this. That’s it. Both sides have improved on a similar level throughout the season so it going to be all about what happens on the day. It’s going to be about dealing with the occasion, with the mistakes and the opportunities. There is a massive contingent of “Cookies” coming down, up to 2,000 I’m led to believe, and possibly more.
“It’s a big day for the club, there will be a lot of ambition on the pitch, a lot of atmosphere on the terraces. Young Munster have only won this competition once (1993) and I think they’re a way better club than that.”
Like Con, winners of the Irish U20 title and finalists in the Bateman Cup, it has been a productive season to date for Young Munster (finalists in the Munster U20 Walsh Cup and Munster Junior Cup and semi-finalists in the Munster Senior Cup), but fans are completely focused on today’s encounter.
“It’s like a throwback to the old days of the AIL with a big crowd and there will be a significant number of neutrals as well because this has the potential to be a cracking game,” said Corkery,
“If I had one dollar left and I was a neutral I would put it on Con to win, but I’m not a neutral so I will be putting it on us! There’s a great feeling around at the moment, a fantastic spirit. It would have been so nice to have the game at home but that won’t stop us believing. Con will have to be prepared because we are coming with all guns locked and loaded, and may the better team win.”
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