The ARDSCOIL Ris captain Cian Lynch and team-mate Josh O’Halloran are the only holders of Harty Cup medals ahead of Saturday’s (1.30) final against Doon in the Gaelic Grounds
Both the Patrickswell and Na Piarsaigh teenagers were subs when Ardscoil won the second of their Munster senior A hurling championships in 2011.
“I was only on the fringes - myself and Josh O’Halloran. I was in third year at the time. I think I came on in all the matches. I think I came on in the All-Ireland final for three minutes - that was some experience,” recalled Lynch this week at the North Circular Road school.
“I was a third year and I was with all the big boys like Shane Dowling and Declan Hannon - they were huge in the school back then. It was unreal playing with them.”
But Lynch’s quest for further honours were derailed at the semi-final stage for the past two seasons.
“We got so far but not far enough but this year we are back in the final. Last year we came so close in the replay in the semi-final,” recalled Lynch, who saw a drive for goal just crash over the crossbar in the dying seconds of the narrow loss to Templemore.
Since 2008 Ardscoil Ris have been annual contenders for Harty honours, a maturing tradition that is not lost on Lynch.
“It’s not about participating anymore - that day is gone. It’s about winning now. Ardscoil have come on so much in the last few years that to captain the team is unreal - it’s a brilliant honour when I look at who went before me Seanie O’Brien, Cathal McInerney, Shane Dowling and Declan Hannon and now I have that opportunity to win it too.”
The centre forward is likely to come into opposition with 2013 county minor colleague Stephen Ryan.
“We know half of them so well from playing last year with Limerick minors. We would be very good friends with most of them but on the pitch and inside those white lines, what happens in there, stays in there. It’s the first time to have two Limerick teams and that’s great for Limerick hurling to have teams from two complete opposite sides of Limerick.”
The bookies may favour Ardscoil, but their captain is aware of the task ahead.
“We have a good chance but we know we have an awful hill to climb. You have to beat the best to be the best and Doon in the final - well when we played them last year in the quarter-final that was one of our toughest games.”
The captain describes Saturday as “a dream come through.”
“The big day is what everyone plays for - you play hurling to get up to this standard. It will be great in the Gaelic Grounds on a big day.”
He is hoping that lessons learned will stand to them.
“I think the Colman’s performance showed real character - it was an awful performance but to get a draw out of it showed real character, we dug deep to get the draw. It was a wake-up call. We had to win them all after that and we put the head down and worked hard.”