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Doon dreaming of Harty fairytale

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Players from Scoil na Trionoide Naofa after a recent game was postponed due to adverse weather conditions

Players from Scoil na Trionoide Naofa after a recent game was postponed due to adverse weather conditions

Players from Scoil na Trionoide Naofa after a recent game was postponed due to adverse weather conditions

It's exciting times for Scoil Na Trionoide Naofa Doon.

On Monday they will move into their new state-of-the-art building, next weekend they will compete in the All-Ireland camogie final, while this afternoon they will play in their first ever Harty Cup final.

The challenge that awaits Doon is a daunting one. Their opponents Ardscoil Ris have won both their quarter and semi-finals by double scores and also beat Doon in the quarter-finals of the competition last year.

While the Co Limerick school don't fear their city rivals, their coach Diarmuid Carr is keeping his side's feet firmly on the ground.

"We took it game by game really. We knew that we had a good panel of players and that on our day we'd be a good match for most teams. We were lucky in the draw that we got – we avoided a lot of the so-called big guns," he admitted.

"We came second in the group stage and beat Charleville and Rochestown in the quarter and semi-final and they're two fine teams, so we took confidence from that. When we saw the draw, we knew there was potential there to go on a good run and that's how it has turned out."

The newly built school is the amalgamation of three local secondary schools – St Joseph's girls' school, St Fintan's CBS boys' school and St Michael's College, Cappamore.

Eillis Casey, the school's principal, is understandably delighted at the strides her schools are making.

"We are still a very new school but it is an exciting time for us with so much going on. Not only are we moving into a new building next week but we have a Harty Cup final and an All-Ireland camogie final to look forward to as well," she enthused.

Having only opened its doors last September, it is a remarkable achievement for Scoil Na Trionoide Naofa Doon, but Carr maintains that the school's Harty Cup run isn't down to the increase in the number of students.

"The playing personnel hasn't changed since the schools came together. The hurling players have all come from St Fintan's and not so much St Michael's," he explained.

Having suffered an unsuccessful period in the Harty Cup in more recent years, St Fintan's opted to drop down a level and compete in the Corn Phadraig – the hurling competition for 'B' schools.

After winning that title three years ago, Carr and his staff decided that a return to the Harty Cup would benefit the school and that decision has proven to be the correct one.

Doon don't need any reminding of the threat that today's opponents pose. A quarter-final defeat to Ardscoil Ris last year taught them plenty of valuable lessons according to Carr, and his side have come back stronger this year.

"Ardscoil have the potential to beat any school in the country by a sizeable margin with the fire-power that they have," he said. "We're just hoping the underdog gets his day.

"The boys are in good shape and they've put in a phenomenal amount of work in training. These opportunities don't come around too often, so hopefully the lads can do themselves justice."

Irish Independent