Neville Cup Final preview – TRR vs Pembroke

The cosmopolitan nature of the two sides has mean that an intriguing encounter of how the two forms sides in Leinster is somewhat diminished. After two highly competitive semi-finals, the make-up of both Rovers and Pembroke’s line-ups will be very different.

While the teams knew they would be without their Irish international contingent (McConnell, Maguire, Lewis, David Harte and Gormley), a number of others will also be missing on St Stephen’s day. Ian Symons is away for the rest of the season at the very least while both other South African’s, McInroy and Fulton are back in their homeland.

As is Three Rock’s goal machine Maarten Sier who has taken up Peter Blakeney’s mantle from the penalty corner. Beyond that, Rovers also have to make do without Ezra Handelman and Ali Haughton.

Pembroke also have high-profile players missing. Conor Harte will be in Cork; Justin Sheriff is away snow-boarding

For coach Turloch O’Siochain, he has been using the cup in a development manner, a la Arsenal in the Carling Cup, all season but is under no illusions, though as to his player’s motivations. “You get to finals to win them, no matter who you are playing. Its silverware and you want to claim it, no matter what the competition or the opposition.”

The lack of such high profile players, though, is disappointing for the competition which is free to attend and run to raise money for charity. Pembroke and Rovers have been the form sides in the first half of the season and their encounter in late October was probably the highest quality game thus far in the league, Pembroke winning 4-1.

Tip off: 3pm Serpentine Avenue

Who do you think will win? Have your say…

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