Coláiste na Trócaire Rathkeale and Lucan CBS vie for historic first:

By John Harrington

History will be made by the winners of tomorrow’s Masita All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools Senior Hurling ‘D’ Final between Coláiste na Trócaire, Rathkeale and Lucan CBS.

This is the inaugural year of the competition, so becoming the very first team on the Roll of Honour will be a nice feather in the cap of whichever team comes out on top.

For the Limerick lads from Rathkeale, reaching this Final is a deserved reward for the huge work they’ve put in this year in both hurling and football.

Pretty much the same panel of players also reached the Munster ‘D’ Football Final where they were beaten by St. Joseph’s Spanish Point who went on to win the All-Ireland title last Saturday.

“They’re a great bunch of dual players and it can be difficult to juggle that along with the games they play outside of the school,” admits Coláiste na Trócaire manager, Robert McNamara.

“They’re putting in a lot of commitment and thankfully they’ve gotten the reward this year.

“They were unlucky to lose that Munster Football Final so it’s great that we managed to win the Munster Hurling Final after a hard battle and get to this All-Ireland Final.

“It’s an unbelievable achievement for the boys. Considering the effort they’ve put in, it’s dream come true stuff for them.

“There’s a buzz starting to build. I went down dropping off the jerseys into the laundrette after the semi-final and they had them ready for me on the Monday morning and were wishing us well.

“We’ve got the bunting up around the school and the excitement is really starting to build. There’s a really good atmosphere around the community and within the school. People are leaving lots of nice messages on the school’s Facebook page and things like that.

“It’s great PR for both the school and the town and surrounding community.

“Their clubs have everything to do with our success because they’re producing the players and I’m just there as a mentor in the school to keep them honest and focused and keep them coming training.”

That’s a sentiment that Lucan CBS manager, Brendan Flynn, can empathise with. The majority of his team play for the Lucan Sarsfields club who have done huge work to develop hurling in recent years and the school has reaped the rewards.

“Yeah, the quality of player we’re getting from the clubs has steadily improved in recent years,” he says. “We’d have lads on Dublin development squads in every team we have in the school.

“We’re very thankful of the club coaches. We only have these lads for a short amount of time and it’s the club coaches that do the vast majority of work with these lads. We just knit them together for the school team.

“So we won’t take much credit for what we’ve done this year, the vast bulk of the work is done in the clubs and by parents bringing them here and there, so we have to be very thankful for our feeder clubs.

“This is the first time for our school to be in an All-Ireland Final and it’s just a great buzz. The atmosphere in the school is fantastic. There’s just an extra pep in the step of everyone.

“The whole school is massively looking forward to this final. It’s brilliant and not just for the school and the students, but for the teachers, the parents and the whole school community. Everyone is just on a buzz to get to all the way to the final.

“We’ll have a good crowd coming down the motorway for it. It’s also a great experience for our younger GAA players coming up to see this. We’re trying to embed a vibrant GAA culture in the school so it’s good to have a standard bearing team like this bring the younger lads along.

“We want the younger lads to see what can be achieved and that will hopefully inspire them to follow in the footsteps of this team.”

Thursday, March 16

Masita GAA Post Primary Schools Senior ‘D’ Final

Coláiste na Trócaire, Rathkeale v Coláiste Phádraig CBS, Lucan, LOETB Centre of Excellence, 1.30pm.