Terenure College's Harrison Brewer says Clontarf will be facing "a different team" in next Sunday's Energia All-Ireland League final, compared to the 'Nure side that lost twice to the north Dubliners during the regular season.
Brewer captained Terenure to a hard-fought 20-18 semi-final win over Lansdowne at Lakelands Park, with Adam La Grue's 76th-minute try supplementing five well-struck penalties from Caolan Dooley.
Terenure picked up silverware on the day as the game doubled up as the Leinster Senior Cup final, but now they are eyeing up the ultimate prize after qualifying for their first ever Division 1A decider.
“We’ve lost to Clontarf twice when we played them this year, very narrowly the last time we played them (12-11). We give them the utmost respect,” admitted back rower Brewer.
“They’re an unbelievable side but we’re going to be a different team on Sunday, and we’re looking forward to it massively.”
Sean Skehan, who came on board in May 2019, has put together a Terenure squad mixed with homegrown talent and savvy additions from around the country, including former provincial players Cathal Marsh, Jordan Coghlan, Colm de Buitléar and James Connolly.
Feeling the ‘togetherness’
Despite losing three of their first four league games, Brewer always had faith, noting: “Over the course of the year, we’ve grown as a team massively. All the new boys coming in have fitted in seamlessly. Jordan Coghlan, Cathal Marsh, all these boys are loving the environment.
“It makes it easier when we’re out on the field. You can just feel the togetherness and it got us over the line.”
2019 champions Cork Constitution were knocked out by Clontarf at Castle Avenue. Tadhg Bird and Dylan Donnellan, with his 18th try of the campaign, touched down during the third quarter to put 'Tarf on course for a 29-13 victory.
Flanker John Forde's rampaging try just before half-time was Con's highlight, closing the gap to 15-13, but 'Tarf's defence stood firm during the second half despite the best efforts of Munster duo Jack Crowley and Alex McHenry.
Ballynahinch hold a four-point lead at the halfway stage in the Division 1A relegation play-off. First half tries from Josh Hanlon and George Pringle guided them to a 21-17 first leg success at UCC.
The Cork students mustered a converted Andrew O'Mahony score and a penalty try, and stayed in contention thanks to Matthew Bowen's try-saving tackle on Greg Hutley in the dying minutes.
Shannon will host Naas in the Division 1B promotion play-off final, with the Limerick club's powerful pack helping them to a 25-19 triumph at Highfield. Jordan Prenderville, Jack O'Donnell and Ronan Coffey shared out the tries.
Table toppers Old Wesley almost pulled off the comeback of all comebacks at Energia Park, but Paddy McKenzie’s missed conversion from out wide saw them lose 37-36 to Naas in gut-wrenching fashion.
Naas capitalised on James O'Donovan's second yellow card to put together tries from Sam Cahill, Tim Murphy and Donal Conroy, building a 37-17 lead with captain Peter Osborne kicking 17 points.
Wesley produced a stunning fightback with three tries during the final 10 minutes, the best of them a superb four-man break that sent Charlie O'Regan in under the posts. Brendan Monahan then scored right at the death, but the difficult conversion was sent wide.
Centre Ben Carson, a recent Under-20 Grand Slam winner, got among the tries as Banbridge won their relegation play-off first leg 25-17, away to Navan.