Friday 23 February 2018

Con to edge Garryowen and reclaim senior crown

Philip Donnellan, Cork Constitution
Philip Donnellan, Cork Constitution

The Munster Senior Cup final takes place at Thomond Park tonight (7.30) as the competition's two most successful clubs contest this season's decider.

Cork Con, who are 24-time winners of the Cup, make the journey to Limerick to take on Garryowen -- the most successful Munster Senior Cup side -- who have won the title 38 times.

For Garryowen, this season's Cup run has come as a welcome relief to their wretched league form. They have lost all of their eight league games, including an 18-15 defeat to tonight's opponents at the start of November.

Con, on the other hand, are sitting comfortably in mid-table -- but for their high standards, they would have been expecting a lot more from their side.

As well as being the two most decorated clubs in the competition, Garryowen and Con are also the last two winners of the Cup.

Holders Con will go into the game as clear favourites, but Garryowen will take plenty of heart from their late comeback against local rivals Shannon in the semi-final.

Both sides will face an anxious wait to see what provincial players will be at their disposal for tonight's game. Garryowen are likely to be without the O'Mahony brothers, Barry and Ronan, as both look set to start on the bench for Munster tomorrow. They will, however, be more hopeful of having their Connacht front-row pair of JP Cooney and James Rael available.

Con are expected to start with their first-choice half-back pairing of Johnny Holland and Gerry Hurley.

Tonight's winner will also earn an All-Ireland Cup semi-final place as Con aim to defend both titles. They should have just enough to see off Garryowen in another closely-fought battle between the old rivals.

Verdict: Cork Con

Meanwhile, in Connacht, Galwegians host Corinthians in the Senior Cup final at Crowley Park tonight (7.30).

The same two teams met in last season's final with Galwegians running out 31-15 winners after a superb second- half comeback.

Galwegians have also beaten tonight's opponents in the league this season and will be hoping for a repeat performance as they seek their 31st Senior Cup title.

Verdict: Galwegians

Irish Independent

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