Monday 21 August 2017

Smith under no illusions

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

IT'S not quite David and Goliath, but Roscrea Community College manager Willie Smith knows his side will have to be at their very best to secure their first All-Ireland Vocational Schools Senior 'A' hurling title in Semple stadium today (throw-in 12.45).

Their opponents, St Brigid's, Loughrea, have won six crowns since 2000 and proved a bridge too far for the Tipperary school in the 2009 final, but Smith believes his side have made significant progress this term.

"Once we got over the Causeway game in the Munster quarter-final this year, I thought we'd go alright. We lost two Munster junior finals to them in the last two years and it was practically the same group of players, so that win was a psychological boost to us. Especially seeing as we felt we didn't do ourselves justice in last year's competition when we blew it in the Munster semi-final."

Since then Clonakilty, Borrisokane and Leinster champions Colaiste Mhuire, Johnstown have been put to the sword, with Offaly minor star Eoin Ryan, Jamie Bergin and Daniel Cleary in good form so far in this campaign.

And while Smith's side have a clean bill of health going into the final, he believes they will be underdogs.

"St Brigid's beat Banagaher in their semi-final and they were reigning All-Ireland champions," he said. "They had a fair few of last year's team back too so they were strong, so St Brigid's will have to be fairly handy and we'll need to be at our best."

Irish Independent

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