independent

Sunday 23 July 2017

Skerries out to end their long Cup drought

Rugby

Paul Byrne

Excitement is building in Skerries as their 2nd XV get ready for a first Town's Cup final since 2007 when they lost to Navan. It's 38 years since the North Dublin side last lifted the famous old trophy and according to their coach Anthony McMahon there is a determination in the squad to end that long drought against Tullow on Sunday.

'The mood in the camp is one of excitement and we are confident without being over-confident. I think the key thing for us in preparing for this game is to focus on our own game and not get too bogged down with what Tullow bring to the table.

'We can only work on our own strengths and continue doing the things that have helped us beat Roscrea, Portlaoise, Clondalkin and Wicklow on our way to reaching the final,' explained Anthony.

Despite the extra tension and pressure that comes with a final appearance, Anthony wants to keep Skerries' preparations as normal as possible.

'Everything we do in the build up to this game stays the same as what we always do. Obviously, it's a final and a big game for the club but it's my job to keep the players calm and keep them in the same frame of mind as they are before every game.

'Everybody is aware of the history of the club and how long it is since we've last won it and that will probably be in the player's minds going into the game but we have to ensure we're not over emotional and concentrate on doing what we do best out on the field.

'I believe we are the more skilful team while Tullow's game is more based around physicality and big hits so we have to use the ball well and play around them and try and stretch them if we can.

'They are a very good team and this is going to be a big challenge for us but we feel we're ready and we know what we have to do. We've got guys in there who have Dad's and uncles who have won this competition before and there's a burning desire to match those achievements,' he added.

McMahon believes that being omitted from the competition last season has been a big motivator to win it in 2017.

'We feel we were wronged when we were suspended from the competition last year for conceding a walkover against Kilkenny two years ago. We had a fixture against Dunbar which we had to honour and we did everything we could to re-arrange that tie.

'We felt aggrieved that we were unable to compete in this great competition last year and that also is providing a little bit of extra motivation for the boys.

'We have beaten the holders in the semi-finals and we have nothing to fear. We see this as a great opportunity to go out and win our first Town's Cup since 1979. As I've said already the boys are aware of the history involved but I've told them this is their chance to make their own history and bring the trophy back to North Dublin.

'We will have two more training sessions this week and then we get ready for battle. We know we have a great chance of doing this and it's up to us now to keep calm and do what we've been doing all season,' stated Anthony.

Fingal Independent

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