Tullow don’t have to look too far for motivation ahead of this Sunday’s Bank of Ireland Towns Cup Final as the Carlow men will be aiming to repeat the feat of Wicklow last season and win the cup for the first time.

Meeting them in the final in Athy is a Skerries seconds team that beat the reigning champions in the semi-final.

Ahead of the final on Easter Sunday, Tullow captain Keiaho Bloomfield spoke about the pedigree of the Skerries team his side will face.

“We know from the past few matches that they beat Clondalkin and Wicklow and both of those turned us over this year, so we know that they have the ability to do it to us also,” Bloomfield said.

“We have to focus on our game and what we can bring in attack and defence. Hopefully we can get a good start and get some scoreboard pressure on early in the game. We don’t know much about them but we know they are capable of a performance and that is enough to get alarm bells ringing in our squad.”

Provincial Towns Cup

Tullow have blazed a trail on their way to the final and didn’t concede a score until the semi-final, scoring over 170 points and conceding none in their opening three matches.

Bloomfield has been happy with the form and the application his troops have shown.

“It is just the way we have been playing this year. We started off and got into our work early and the points started to come. We don’t really focus on the result but it’s just the process. We trust our defence as well as our attack and when things have gone well, they have gone very well.”

The semi-final win over Ashbourne also showed the resolve of the club, who were last in the decider in 2012.

Behind in injury-time, they got one last chance and took it to pip Ashbourne at the death.

“We got a massive test. We knew Ashbourne were a quality side that were proven. They are All-Ireland Junior champions. We knew it would be a bigger test from our previous matches. We started well but they clawed their way back into the game. We got a chance in injury-time to get another shot at it and luckily we took it.”

Provincial Towns Cup

While Tullow have yet to win the Towns Cup, hurt from recent final losses is sure to drive them on with a lot of lads still around from those heartbreaking defeats.

“I think the club gets a buzz around it when the Towns Cup comes around. It is our third time to be in the final and there are still a few lads around since the first round and a few of us again since the last final in 2012.

“It is about getting the balance right. We have to get into our work quick enough and we can call on that experience when the big minutes come up to make the right decisions and get the right result with it.”

Sean OBrien

The powerful centre is also full of praise for a certain Sean O’Brien who has been involved with the side this year.

Bloomfield believes his influence and experience can play a part on Sunday.

“Sean’s influence is massive. Every spare minute he has, he is down in the club. Whenever he can offer his time, he is there. His passion for the club is massive and he puts as much back in as he gives for his country.

“Some of the young guys in the club see him on TV one day and down in the club the next day shouting on the sidelines. They see him enough now that he is just one of the boys. We are very grateful to have him on board. He brings that firsthand knowledge of the game and those little things are small margins but they can be the difference in tight games.”

Tullow RFC face Skerries RFC 2nd XV in the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup Final at Athy RFC on Easter Sunday (KO 3.30pm). Tickets will be available on the gate.

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