A new hurling rivalry will be born this Wednesday when champions Ardscoil Ris and newcomers Castletroy College clash in the quarter-finals of the Dr Harty Cup.
More accustomed to battles on the rugby field, the city secondary schools meet, in Bruff (2.30), for the first time ever in the Munster senior A colleges hurling championship.
Indeed this is first year that Castletroy have played at the top level of colleges hurling, while Ardscoil Ris are appearing in the knockout stages of the prestigious competition for the sixth successive year.
Hat-trick chasing Ardscoil Ris are managed by Derek Larkin and Liam Cronin.
Larkin said that his side will be on high alert as their city rivals bid to dethrone them.
“Twelve or 13 of last year’s starting team are gone so we have a new enough panel,” explained Larkin.
“I don’t think too many people would have thought we would even have got out of the group but the lads have done great and they knew what was expected of them after watching the last few years.”
“This is an interesting one - there are no easy games at this stage, they are there on merit,” said Larkin of Castletroy.
“It’s a great achievement for us when you consider that it is only two years since these lads were playing in the ‘C’ grade at U-15 level,” explained Liam O’Mahoney of Castletroy.
“This is all down to the players - they wanted to play Harty Cup and we told them it would require dedication and they have been great. They have trained and done everything we asked and I would have to say that we get great support from Ahane and Monaleen GAA clubs as well,” said O’Mahoney.
“This is the biggest game ever for the school in terms of hurling. We know that Ardscoil Ris are favourites and rightly so - they have done so much for Limerick hurling in the last few years and we are just hoping to be able to go in a similar direction,” he said, pointing out that just four Leaving Certificate students will be in their youthful team.
While Ardscoil are favourites to meet either Thurles or Nenagh in the semi-finals, Castletroy did beat Ardscoil Ris in the county U-16 1/2 championship last year.
Ardscoil will be backboned by players from Na Piarsaigh, Patrickswell and Adare, while the Monaleen and Ahane GAA clubs will supply the majority of the Castletroy College starting team.