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Tullamore Tuned In For ‘A Hard Day’s Work’

Tullamore Tuned In For ‘A Hard Day’s Work’

With Navan having beaten them twice already this season, Tullamore and their captain Nigel Ravenhill are bracing themselves for ‘a hard’s day work’ when the sides clash again in Saturday’s AIB Junior Cup final at Dubarry Park.

Nigel Ravenhill is the epitome of a real, tough as nails clubman who has toiled away for many seasons and is Tullamore through and through.

Comfortable in the second row or back row, he was part of the Tullamore team that won the Leinster Provincial Towns Cup in 2006 and he has also captained the Offaly club’s 2nd team to a cup title.

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But a win in Athlone on Saturday would surely eclipse all that. The 39-year-old, who is a director of a busy courier business, believes that his team can overturn Navan not just for the silverware but for the good of the club.

“Hopefully we can do the business on the day and it will roll on into next season. If we do, it’ll bring more players to the club and the club will benefit from it all. At the end of the day that’s the bottom line.

“For the supporters and the volunteers, this (getting to a cup final) is as much a reward for them as it is for the players and coaching staff. It’s all a big plus for Tullamore this weekend,” he admitted.

Ravenhill clearly loves his involvement with the club and he cites first team coach Kevin Lewis as the biggest influence on his rugby career.

Asked about Tullamore RFC itself, he added: “We’re only five minutes’ walk to the town centre, we’re just behind the Tullamore Court hotel. It’s a great club, great facilities.

“The structure that’s in place in Tullamore is excellent. There’s the commitment from the management and the commitment from the volunteers that run the club, the chairmen right down to the boys that look after the pitch, the supporters and the lads sweeping out the dressing rooms.

“There’s a great amount of work going on in Tullamore the whole time.”

Lewis’ charges made a blistering start to this season’s AIB Junior Cup, beating Monivea 37-3 at home in Spollanstown.

The result seems all the better now given that Monivea are through to a play-off against Waterpark to decide the 16th and final team that will feature in AIB League Division Three next season.

Ravenhill agreed: “It was very important to get a win like that at the start. It was just after Christmas, it was Monivea’s first run-out since Christmas and after 20 minutes the game was nearly over as such.

“It was a great win for Tullamore, we really got things together and everything went very well on the day.”

Tullamore’s cup adventure continued into February when they dethroned last year’s champions Seapoint, winning by 20-16 at Spollanstown again.

“That was a big game for us. It was a great win, it was one of the better days for Tullamore both for the supporters and coaching staff.

“We’ve had a lot of games since Christmas. We’ve had ten hard games between the Leinster League, Towns Cup and AIB Junior Cup. It’s a big commitment from the lads and we got a huge performance from them that day.”

They dug out a 13-5 win over Clonmel in their semi-final and, as Ravenhill explained, the Tullamore ranks are calling for one big last push from their side so they can end the season on a high.

“Hopefully everyone will shine on the day. To be in a final, you need a squad effort and everyone has to do their bit.

“It’s a young enough side. I’d say there’s an average age of 24-25, we’ve won nothing yet so we’ve it all to do on the day. Hopefully after that we’ll be able to tell you a lot more about them (the players)!

“It will take an all-round performance to beat Navan, a hard day’s work, but we’re well able to beat them.”