Great rivals Young Munster and Thomond meet in the Munster Senior Cup quarter-final on Saturday.
LOCAL derbies in club rugby don’t come much bigger than this in the modern era.
AIL Division 1A Young Munster host 2A side Thomond in a moth-watering Munster Senior Cup quarter-final clash at Clifford Park this Saturday, 2.30pm.
The clubs share strong links given the countless number of players who have represented both sides over the years.
Recently crowned Limerick Charity Cup winners Thomond, currently fourth in Division 2A of the AIL, will fancy a crack off Munsters’, who are the only local side operating in the Ulster Bank League’s top flight.
Thomond head coach, Brendan Guilfoyle, who has previously played with Young Munster said: “If we drew Dolphin or Cork Con this weekend, it would have made it a lot easier because there wouldn’t be as much tied into the game. If players were 50/50 in terms of fitness we would be giving them a rest.
“The fact it is Young Munster it is a Limerick derby and there are huge links between the clubs, God alone knows how many players played with both clubs over the years!
“We will probably need to tie the lads down Saturday morning who are carrying injuries in order to stop them because they want to play in these games. It is a huge game and these are the fixtures you want to play in,
“We have two huge games coming up in the All-Ireland League coming up to Christmas, never mind playing against Young Munster in a big derby game this weekend. We have some tough games ahead of us and the break (in the AIL last weekend) maybe came at the right time to allow us focus on ourselves on what we are trying to do and more importantly how we are trying to do it.
“We are well aware of how good Munsters’ are. They have a lot of lads coming back from injury at the minute, so we are probably getting them when they are at their best. It is going to be a tough game, but we can just go out and have a go. No one is expecting us to do well. We can give it or best shot.”
Young Munster face a six-day turnaround for Saturday’s game having claimed a losing bonus point in their AIL 1A fixture away to Lansdowne on Sunday.
Head coach John Staunton said: “It doesn’t matter what Division you are in - that goes out the window on Saturday - the Munster Senior Cup is very like the FA Cup where it is a competition that suits the underdog a lot of the time and one which produces surprises.
“It is going to be one hell of a match. Thomond are doing very well in their Division. They have a quality side with quality players. Darragh O’Neill, Brendan Guilfoyle, Ger Burke, would be excelling if they were playing in 1A.
“It is going to be a battle. Fellas are going to be edgy going into it.
“Nothing will be given away soft. You have to be accurate in what you are doing and bring your ‘A’ game on Saturday. This is going to be old school Cup rugby.”