DOON and Ardscoil Ris met in the quarter-final last season and the city side were comprehensive winners, ending Doon’s first season back in the top tier.
The defeat in Bruff was to be the bench mark for Doon as they set out this season.
“Ardscoil taught us a lesson that day. They were by far the better team, which is something the guys are aware of and knew that they have to play to their best to beat them,” said Doon teacher Diarmuid McCarthy ahead of Saturday’s final against Ardscoil Ris in the Gaelic Grounds at 1.30.
The Glenroe-Ballylanders club-man is joined in the Scoil na Trionoide Naofa management by teachers Justin Daly and Diarmuid Carr.
“We knew after that game that we were out-hurled and I think to be competitive in this game we knew we would need to be fitter and hurl better and be consistent.” Efforts were re-doubled but the draw for the group stages wasn’t kind and most would have had the east Limerick men behind Thurles and Castletroy to progress.
“At the start of the year to get to the quarter-final would have been our target and to get to a final is a big bonus.”
McCarthy recalled: “We beat North Mon comfortably and then we knew we had two massive games ahead of us with Thurles and Castletroy”.
“We knew leaving that game that we were definitely up to the standard of Harty Cup,” recalled McCarthy of the Thurles game, which they lost when down to 14 men.
“Then the last game against Castletroy was winner takes all - Castletroy had a lot of big guys from the Limerick minor team and we knew we had enough done but weren’t sure how the game would go.” They advanced to beat Charleville and Rochestown to reach a first Harty final since the 1931 loss to Rockwell.
“We are going to have to put 60 minutes together to be competitive. We know we are up against a big opposition and they will be raging favourites but to get here the boys have worked hard and we have done a lot. Ardscoil are a different style of team and are very experienced and have been here on the big day and know exactly what to expect from a Harty Cup final - we are under no illusions that we have a massive fight on our hands against Ardscoil.”
The teacher reserved special praise for the efforts of his players and their clubs.
“Most of the guys on this panel are from Pallasgreen, Doon and Cappamore, who have all experienced recent county finals with success - It makes our lives a lot easier to come back in September and have had guys playing at a high level. We have no All Star hurlers - a very level bunch of guys. They can all hold their own. As a bunch they are excellent to work with - we say something and they take it on board and they have trained hard and honestly.”