Garryowen in action against last season's Charity Cup winners Young Munster
GARRYOWEN FC return to their former home, the Markets Field, when facing Nenagh Ormond in the Limerick Charity Cup Final on Friday night at 7.30pm.
The final will have a few ‘firsts’ attached to it as Garryowen FC, from their foundation until their relocation to Dooradoyle in the late 1950s, had long connections with the Markets Field.
It is the ‘Light Blues’ first return to the venue since. Friday night will mark Nenagh Ormond’s first Limerick Charity Cup final appearance.
Having reached the Charity Cup final in both the 2014/2015 season as well as last season, Garryowen were unable to fulfil the fixture.
Thomond were awarded the Cup in 2014/2015 when Garryowen insisted they were unable to field a team on the date the decider was scheduled to take place.
Young Munster was awarded the trophy last season after the ‘Light Blues’ were unable to play the fixture on the date the decider was fixed for and no new alternative date could be agreed.
Garryowen head coach Conan Doyle explained: "Last season and two seasons before that, we were in the Charity Cup final and unfortunately it got refixed on both occasions for dates that put our squad, our team, our AIL chances under a serious amount of pressure.
”Unfortunately, we couldn't come to an agreement around when the game was going to be fixed.
“It is a competition that we want to win, but like I said before the All-Ireland League is number one and we are fortunate this year that the game hasn't been refixed, so we have been able to plan in advance for it and make sure we are able to put out a side in it so that we don't have guys over doing it.
"At the end of the day they are amateur players and it can be very difficult if you are on a run of 12 weeks in a row to be performing week in and week out.
”You need a rest at some stage. Luckily, this season we have had a break a few weeks ago, so we are able to do it.”
Garryowen, on the back of a hard-earned 6-3 victory over great rivals Young Munster in filthy wet conditions at Dooradoyle on Friday night, sit in fourth place in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League, while their final opponents Nenagh Ormond lie fourth in Division 2A following a 10-6 defeat away to Tipperary rivals Cashel last time out.
Conan Doyle agreed that their hard fought derby win over Munsters’ was a timely one ahead of Friday’s Cup final.
"It is good to have the confidence of winning a tight game like that. It was a difficult one for both sides with the conditions. It could have gone either way. We were fortunate to have done enough to get the win.
"The lads will take a lot of confidence out of that and bring it into another pressurised situation being a Cup final.”
Friday’s game comes on the back of three successive weekends of Ulster Bank League action and just before a run of three further straight Saturdays of AIL fixtures.
Doyle said the workload players have had in recent weeks and would face in the coming weeks in the AIL would influence his starting line-up for Friday.
"The first consideration is to make sure that the team we put out is going to win the game and then after that we have to look at who is available to us and who has been playing a lot of games and see how we can work it best so that guys are getting regular rugby.
"The All-Ireland League is the most important competition that we play in, so we want to make sure that we are going as strong as we can in those games, but certainly we want to make sure that we have a strong enough team out on Friday night to win the game.
"We know Nenagh are a good side. They will, most likely, be playing their AIL team that played last weekend against Cashel and the week before against Highfield, so they will be a good side.
”We just need to make we have a strong enough team, but I would be confident that with the strength we have in the squad that we will be able to win it.”
Doyle said the squad was looking forward to playing the fixture at the Markets Field.
“Last year we were really disappointed that we weren't able to play in that fixture at the Markets Field, so to get another chance this year is great.
"It adds that bit of extra desire for lads to go out there and win it because we have been listening to the stories from years ago, from the older members of the club who would know that history and pass it on now.
"It is great, great to be able to play a game there.”
Garryowen saw off Old Crescent 33-19 to reach the decider, while opponents Nenagh Ormond edged past UL-Bohemian 20-17 to book their final place.
Proceeds from the game will benefit local charities, including St Vincents, Lisnagry, Parkinson's Association, Redemptorist Fathers Christmas Poor Campaign, Limerick Marine Search and Rescue and Milford Hospice.