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'Munster Invaders' set sights on historic Senior Cup triumph

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Cistercian College Roscrea players celebrate their victory over Newbridge with their 'Munster Invasion' flag

Cistercian College Roscrea players celebrate their victory over Newbridge with their 'Munster Invasion' flag

SPORTSFILE

Cistercian College Roscrea players celebrate their victory over Newbridge with their 'Munster Invasion' flag

Their supporters' giant flag read 'Munster Invasion' but Cistercian College Roscrea's senior coach is adamant that the school doesn't have any sort of identity crisis.

The town of Roscrea is in county Tipperary but the school itself lies just inside the Offaly border.

As someone from the outside, Pieter Swanepoel can see just how much the people of Roscrea crave success.

After last Monday's pulsating Senior Cup semi-final replay win over Newbridge College, Roscrea have now booked a St. Patrick's day final date with Belvedere.

Getting to a final isn't anything new for the school, but they are still searching for their first title.

"We certainly don't look at it as if we're from Munster. The school is in Leinster and we're delighted to be competing for that cup," Swanepoel said of the school's identity.

"It's a small place and it's the talk of the town which is great. I was in a DIY shop the other day and people who I'd never even met before were wishing me luck.

"The extra game will have taken its toll on the lads but we have enough time to prepare and go again against Belvedere next week."

No 8 Dan Trayers has been immense for Roscrea throughout the competition but Swanepoel was reluctant to pick out individuals from what has been a massive collective effort.

"Dan and all of the other lads live for rugby. They talk about rugby when they don't have a ball in their hand," said the South African.

"He's a pure powerhouse on the field and in the gym too. He's great to work with.

"Brendan McKeogh has done great work there with the strength and conditioning. The school is really working hard to look after all of these guys, conditioning-wise."

The side is captained by centre Tim Foley, who hails from Bantry, county Cork and his strong accent gives a clear indication of that.

Foley is another who has impressed and the former Leinster schools captain said that the boarding school element has massively helped in forming a strong bond between the players.

"We live together 24/7 in Roscrea. Sometimes we're fighting, sometimes we're having the craic but we're always together," he smiled.

Family

"I suppose when you're in boarding school it becomes like a family and that definitely helps when you're out on the pitch.

"We spoke after beating Blackrock about the importance of coming back down to earth and working even harder again."

To add to the school's upcoming Senior Cup final, they will also compete in an All-Ireland hurling final, with Alan Tynan, Aaron Browne, Simon Meagher and Paddy McKeon representing both sides - and Foley believes that the two teams can feed off each other's achievements.

Belvedere will go into Tuesday's final as hot favourites but that won't concern Swanepoel.

"We absolutely have the tools to win a cup. If you can beat that Blackrock team and a big Newbridge side, why not?" he said.

"We can't go into the final thinking that we might win it - you have to think that you will win it and that's the attitude we'll have."

Irish Independent