BY GER McCARTHY
BANDON RFC’s captain Tom Ferguson is setting a determined tone ahead of his club’s historic Munster Junior Cup final appearance at Thomond Park on Sunday, at 2.30pm.
Reaching a Munster Junior Cup decider is a fantastic achievement in its own right especially considering some of the heavyweights Bandon have knocked out on the way to the final. Yet, nothing is won and history will not be a factor when Ferguson leads Bandon out on to the Thomond Park pitch to face Young Munster.
‘It’s an absolutely huge honour for our club and only the third time in 100 years for us to reach a Munster final,’ Ferguson commented.
‘Each year every junior team starts out with the dream of winning the competition but it is an incredibly difficult thing to do considering senior clubs have their second teams involved. We managed to beat two of them along the way, UCC and Cashel, but now there is a third waiting for us in final.’
That team is none other than reigning Munster Junior Cup champions Young Munster, a side who defeated Bandon in the penultimate round last year. The West Cork club do not need to be reminded of the task facing them at Thomond Park, going head to head with one of the most famous names in Irish rugby.
But the excitement both inside and outside the Bandon dressing room is palpable in the build-up to what is going be a special occasion. Confidence has grown with each passing round for a Bandon team that’s reserved their best performances of the season for the Munster Junior Cup.
‘It’s been a case of the bigger the game the bigger the performance for us in the cup this year,’ Ferguson admitted.
‘We knew Clonmel were going to be a huge challenge in the semi-finals as they are after winning the league for the third year in row. The lads knew we had to do everything we absolutely could to overcome them and we did it.
‘So it is all well and good getting to a final at Thomond Park and obviously a great thing for the local community but at the same time it will mean absolutely nothing if we come home empty handed.’
Strong words from Bandon’s captain but they are indicative of the winning mentality engendered in the West Cork club’s set-up.
What is abundantly clear is that Bandon are determined to play the game and not the occasion in Limerick next weekend. There will be no loss of focus while Tom Ferguson is leading this team.
‘It’s a huge day for the club, no doubt about it, but we have to keep our cool and keep control of the situation to have any chance of winning,’ Bandon’s captain said.
‘We can’t stand around Thomond saying “this place is great”. The team will have to be focussed from the word go. We will try to enjoy the final, of course, as it is it not very often you get the chance to play there but we won’t allow ourselves to get too caught up in the occasion either.
‘I have to mention our supporters as they have been fantastic all year. The support we got in the semi-final win over Cashel was unbelievable. I’ve never experienced anything like the support we had that day in Bandon before. If we can get something similar to that in Thomond Park on Sunday afternoon then the players and I will be absolutely delighted.’
All roads lead to Thomond Park for what should be a special day in Bandon RFC’s history on Sunday.