Without any subplots, next Tuesday's McCorry Cup final between Lansdowne and UCD was already shaping up to be a heavyweight classic in Donnybrook (KO: 7.30pm)...
Throw in the fact that UCD are the only team in the country who have managed to defeat their All Ireland league winning opponents all season and it becomes clear that Tuesday's showpiece in Donnybrook is looking like being a special final.
While UCD's previous success over an otherwise unstoppable Lansdowne side is a fascinating thread of the story, the most remarkable aspect of this final must surely be the long running friendship between the two captains. Lansdowne's skipper Akhlaque Khan and his UCD counterpart Liam Bourke have known each other since under-11s in Navan and Khan is relishing the opportunity to face off against his long-time friend. "It should be a great day, especially playing against my best friend. I can't wait but it's gonna be kinda strange playing against him."
After enjoying a remarkable season, Khan is determined to add one more piece of silverware to the trophy cabinet for Lansdowne and is confident about his team's chances against their only conquerors this term."After winning the All-Ireland we want to top it off and put the cherry on top. I feel like we have the edge over UCD Everyone's on a high after the league. We've only lost once this year and it was to them so we want to right the wrongs."
Although Khan is optimistic about his side's chances, he is fully aware that nothing other than a top class display will be enough to take home the cup. "Both teams are going to be very strong. I was talking to Liam about it the other day and they've got all their players back so it should be a clash of the titans."
While Lansdowne have undoubtedly enjoyed a superb year, UCD will not merely be making up the numbers in Donnybrook on Tuesday evening and having defeated Old Belvedere and Terenure to reach this stage of the competition can have genuine aspirations of claiming the Cup and ending the season on a high after losing to UCC in the All-Ireland League.
Captain Liam Bourke is brimming with confidence and believes his side have what it takes to deliver on Tuesday. "I think we'll do the job on them. We've beaten them once and drawn with them once this year so we're looking forward to having another crack at them."
A victory would be fitting reward for a long season of hard graft and Liam is keen to pay tribute to the positive mentality that has existed within the whole squad throughout the year. "It's been a group of about 30 lads. We've had a good few injuries and a good few are in the Leinster academy so we've had a lot of chopping and changing. It's been a real squad effort."
Whatever happens on Tuesday night, it promises to be a fascinating duel between two of the very best underage club sides in the country.
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