9 Dec, 12:44
Munster Rugby and IRFU Referee Department have just completed their very successful joint venture to find the next generation of referees in schools within the Limerick area.
Kerryman Sean McCarthy will lead out the Rockwell side on Monday and is confident his squad has what it takes to claim this prestigious trophy for the 25th time since the competition began back in 1909. McCarthy stated “as a team, we are a tight group who work hard for each other. The attitude of the lads is great, they are always looking for ways to improve their game on and off the pitch”.
When asked about captaining the side, McCarthy, nephew of former Munster Captain Mick Galway said “Mick has given me a few words of advice throughout the years but has always told me to just enjoy the rugby. The squad has made it easy for me to captain the side as there are many big personalities on the team who help me along”.
Speaking on their preparations to date McCarthy said “making this year’s cup final has made this school year a tough but enjoyable one. There are always a few injuries but we have had replacements who are well capable and have been pushing for starting positions all year. He goes on to say “having been in the final for four consecutive years gives the team great belief in ourselves. The majority of the squad were here last year so it is an advantage to have an idea of what we are in for on Monday”.
Rockwell College overcame a strong CBC side in their semi-final match in Musgrave Park, Cork, which McCarthy said was “one of our toughest games we have played all year”. He acknowledged the dedication and commitment of Rockwell’s coaching staff lead by Mark Butler and said it was their strong defensive drills practiced again and again in training that got them through that game.
McCarthy is under no illusions that Monday's final will a big challenge and acknowledged St. Munchin’s strengths and overall skill-set “typically of Munchin’s they have a big pack who like to get on the ball and run hard. They also have a good backline who like to kick the ball for territory so the forwards can complete for possession”.
Rockwell have a long history of ex-pupils that went on to play for Munster and Ireland including Denis Leamy, Mick Fitzgibbon, Gary Halpin, Gabriel Fulcher, Jack Clarke and the recent Ireland Team Manager Paul McNaughton amongst others. Two of the Rockwell squad have Munster connections, Aidan Butler younger brother to Munster’s Paddy Butler and Darragh Foley, younger brother of Munster lock Dave Foley.
Rockwell have a total of five Munster Schools (U18), two Munster U19 and one U20 capped players. They also have two players on the Ireland Schools squad.
Guiding the Rockwell team into their fourth final in a row Head Coach Mark Butler commented “we look forward to the game ahead, St. Munchin’s are a well drilled side and Monday's final will be the biggest challenge for us in the cup campaign so far.”
Rockwell College Road To The Final
First Round: Glenstal Abbey School 3 Rockwell College 5 (Clonmel)
Quarter Final: Rockwell College 17 Castletroy College 3 (Clanwilliam Park)
Semi Final: CBC 0 Rockwell College 11
Final: St. Munchins College v Rockwell College, Monday, 19th March, Thomond Park.
Admision Fee: Adult €10 School Pupils/OAPs €5