Dungarvan hoping Harty endeavour can secure double
THEY may be an amalgamation of two schools, but the Dungarvan Colleges' club mentality is driving them towards a second Harty Cup in a row.
Made up of students from St Augustine's, Abbeyside, and Dungarvan CBS, the holders draw their players from 12 different clubs and have had to adapt to the challenges of being spread out.
Whereas other coaches can request lunchtime or after-school training at their leisure, St Augustine's Daragh Duggan and Dungarvan's Shane McGrath have had to adapt.
They moved training sessions to night-time and Sunday mornings, fostered a club atmosphere and have reaped the rewards.
Tomorrow, they go into the Harty Cup final as favourites and defending champions against an Our Lady's, Templemore team who have been Munster's surprise package.
The holders have the experience – nine of the squad featured last year and a host are current or former Waterford minors – and will travel to Tipperary Town with confidence.
"We had a lot of logistical issues," Duggan conceded. "We couldn't train at lunchtime or after school and we wanted to avoid running into conflicts over which pitch we use and when.
"Shane and I are very good friends and we work well together. We realised that we would be better served training at night, finding a club field and meeting on Sunday mornings.
"The boys have really responded to it, they enjoy training under lights and it has fed into a club mentality and a togetherness, despite the fact that they come from different schools."
Their main man is forward Patrick Curran, while Christy Breathnach's hard-running style from half-forward has bolstered their efforts.
Half-backs Tadhg Bourke, Kevin Daly and Tom Devine have also been to the fore in a run that has seen them beat Blackwater CS and Thurles CBS en route to the final.
Templemore needed a replay to overcome Ardscoil Ris in the semi-finals, and had just a point to spare over Midleton CBS in the quarters. John McGrath will be the one to watch as they look to end a 35-year wait for the title.
While Dungarvan are odds-on favourites, Duggan is not buying into the hype. Templemore have always "punched above their weight," he claims. "It's 50/50 and it will all come down to what happens on the day."