They may have missed out on promotion, but Nenagh Ormond are gunning for some silverware to cap a fine season and table toppers Queen’s University are standing in their way.
Queen’s University and Nenagh Ormond meet at Old Belvedere’s Anglesea Road ground in Dublin on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 12pm), with the AIB League Division 3 trophy at stake.
The Belfast students have had a flying season and finished 20 points clear of Nenagh in the final standings, having scored an incredible 580 points in 15 matches.
But a look at the one time the sides met, an 18-13 win at Queen’s fortress, Dub Lane, shows that the difference between these sides is marginal, and Nenagh captain Michael Kennedy says his side are keen to win their first senior final.
“It’s hard to get any silverware in rugby, especially being a senior club in Division 3,” he explained.
“Any cup competition, you could be drawn against the likes of Lansdowne and Bruff. This is our opportunity at a first senior final for the club.
“If you look at the league, we’ve finished fifth, sixth, fifth and fifth (in recent years). It was just consistency we lacked. Last season, in the second half of the campaign, we lost seven out of eight games – before that the same.
“We’ve been building from there. When we sat down at the start of the season and did our goals, one was promotion, but another was a top four finish.
“Once promotion was gone, we went hell for leather for the top four. We reckoned we were good enough and on any day, you can beat any team.
“That (18-13 defeat) was a very good game. In fairness to Queen’s, as a young side, they have great composure, skill and pace.
“Jonathan Bell is their player-coach who comes on in the second half, they’re a damn good side. I’d like to think it could have gone either way, our last match against them,” added Kennedy.
Queen’s, winners of the Ulster Senior Cup last weekend, are keen to finish off a superb year with a flourish, and captain Mark Robinson wants one last push from his players.
With exams still a way off, the fourth year medical student says the club, with Robbie Moore the director of rugby and former Ireland international Brian Robinson heading up the coaching set-up, are improving every year.
“With our Ulster Senior Cup success and our wins over teams up north, we’re one of the more attractive clubs to come to for guys coming out of schools,” he said.
“We have a lot of interest in the club in terms of bringing in a slightly better calibre of player but also traditionally the club is run on the engineers and the medics who have five year courses, so a lot of the guys will be back next season competing in Division 2.”
The flanker added: “It’s no surprise to us that they (Nenagh Ormond) got to the final. When they came up (to us earlier in the season), they definitely gave us our hardest run this year at the Dub.
“We haven’t lost there in three years and to be 10-0 down to Nenagh at half-time, it really showed how the team had developed to claw it back.
“Going into this final, both teams have a right to believe they can win it. We’re looking forward to it.”
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