With the evolution of professional rugby, provincial cups seem to have lost some of their allure and mystic for the supporters, but for those countless players who never received any remuneration from the game; the Cup was their only glory. With its romantic ideals and honest endeavours, the Munster Senior cup was the only trophy worth winning according to many.
This Sunday in Musgrave park, both Midleton and Shannon will have very different, but equally admiral reasons for wishing to win the coveted trophy. For Midleton, it's a venture into the unknown. For the first time in their history they played their way into the final game of the competition, but for holders Shannon their reason may seem a littler greedy to others.
Their hope is that by around 4.30pm on Sunday their name will be on the cup for the forth time in a row, a feat achieved only once before when Garryowen had a quartet of wins in succession way back in the 1890's. Without the All Ireland league to play for this year, Shannon's coach Geoff Moylan is adamant that the senior cup the next best thing and if they win it will be added to the Munster senior league that his team already won earlier this season.
Two provincial trophies at the end of a long season would be the envy of most clubs in the country and Shannon are no different. However, regardless of divisional differences between the two teams, Midleton will certainly prove a tough nut to crack. Their passage to the final surprised many, beating Cork Constitution and Sundays Well en route.
They will most likely be boasted by the inclusion of Jason Holland and will have nothing to fear from Shannon. They have a big powerful pack and are well drilled in the art of upsets. Shannon are expected to line out along the same lines as the team that faced Thomond in the semi-final, which means the inclusion of the legendary figure Mick Galwey. He, above all people have has probably the biggest desire to win on Sunday.
It will be a recording breaking 10 Munster senior cup medals for the second row. His first came back in 1987, when he partnered a couple of other legendary Shannon figures in the back-row, Niall O'Donovon and Colm Tucker. While that was Gallimh's first medal, it was the fourth time that the parish side won the Cup, but they went on to claim the cup a further 10 times since then, and are aiming for their 15th title on Sunday.
Such has been the dominance of Limerick clubs in the cup since the late eighties and nineties, the final has been played in Musgrave Park only twice. The last time Shannon travelled tCork was in 1996 when a late Pat Muarry try gave Shannon a wonderful victory
.The Munster senior cup deserves to treated with the respect that it was once afforded. Midleton are sure to bring the huge support of their townsfolk for their day of glory while the Shannon supporters will also travel in large numbers for a game should be an exciting tie to round off the season.