GLENSTAL Abbey will be looking to create history when facing competition heavyweights, PBC, of Cork, in the 108th Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup final at Thomond Park on St Patrick's Day, 4pm.
Second time Senior Cup finalists Glenstal Abbey will be looking to win the province's most prestigious schools rugby competition for the first time ever when locking horns with 28-time winners Pres.
Glenstal have impressed hugely on route to reaching their first final since 1970, especially in their dramatic semi-final win over Ardscoil Ris which was achieved on the back of a stunning opening quarter display which yielded three terrific tries.
Glenstal opened with an expected opening round victory over St Clement's, before impressively swatting Rockwell's challenge aside on a 18-0 scoreline in their quarter-final clash in Clanwilliam.
The Murroe side have almost 20 players with 2016 Senior Cup experience in their squad this time round.
The Glen warmed up for the Cup proper by reaching a third successive Limerick City Cup final, where they edged past St Munchin's College 22-15 in the final.
Glenstal is captained by the highly rated Rory Clarke, and Ben Healy has been involved in the Munster U-19 and Ireland U-18 squads as have Mark Fleming and Luke Fitzgerald, while Ben Maloney and George Downing have featured at Munster U-18 level.
Andrew Hogan, brother of current Irish U-20 and former Glenstal Schools Senior Cup star Colm, Ronan Quinn and Padraic Mulligan have seen action at Munster U-17 level.
Glenstal Abbey head coach, Sean Skehan, a Leinster Schools Senior Cup medal winner with St Michael's 10 years ago, said it was a terrific boost for the school to be back in a second final.
Glenstal Abbey head coach, Sean Skehan said: “It means a lot for the school to be in the final. Between the squad and ball boy and towel boy who were involved against Ardscoil, that is 12% of our school population.
“Between fifth year and sixth year we probably have 60 boys. To get a squad of 30 out of that and to have them as committed as they are there, look it's huge.
“PBC are a phenomenal team. Paul Barr, who is involved in their coaching team was one of my coaches in first year when I was attending St Michael's, so I will get to go against him.
“PBC are fantastic, we will have to up our game significantly to give them a good game in the final. If we can play like we did in that opening 20 minutes against Ardscoil Ris and sustain it, be a bit more disciplined, look, I think we will give them a good game. When you get to a final, you just need to deliver on the day and hopefully we can finish the job.
“Last year a lot of the kids in this season's squad were playing. We lost a close game against Castletroy in the first round and then got demolished by Comp. It was in that changing room that day a lot of those kids came up to me and asked how were we going to go about getting to a final, winning the cup. They have committed themselves. They have some real talent in there.
GLENSTAL ABBEY 2017
CAPTAIN: Rory Clarke
SQUAD: Eoin Callaghan*, Mark O’Farrell, Declan Floyd*, Sean Scanlon-Garry*, Jack O’Mahony*, Thanade McCoole*, Luke Fitzgerald*, Henry Downing*, Rory Clarke*, Shane Butler, Eoin Bergin*, Shane Downes *, Pa Geraghty, Sean Hammond, Jamie Mawhinney*, Molony, Tim*, Conan O’Sullivan*, Conor Booth*, Ronan Hanly, Andrew Hogan, David Kelly, Ronan Leahy, Will McAleese, Patrick Prendergast, Arthur Moore, Robbie Corrigan, Andrew Walsh, Mark Fleming*, Booth, Conor*, Egan, Aran, Fleming, Mark*, Ben Geary, Ben Healy*, Padraic Mulligan, Mark Walsh, Harry Boland, George Downing *, Aran Egan, Conor O’Brien, Ronan Quinn, Jack Wall O’Reilly, Harry Benner, Scott MacKeown, Emmet Aylward, Caolan Dooley, Denny Moriarty, Bill Fitzgerald. *Played Senior Cup 2016
COACHING TEAM: Sean Skehan (Head); Tom Hayes (Assistant), Nick Miller (Assistant), Lee Nicholas (Assistant), Lukasz Kirszenstein (S&C), Brian Collins (Physio)