St. Kierans College go in search of their third consecutive All-Ireland Senior Colleges title on Easter Monday as they Ardscoil Ris of Limerick for the destination of the Croke Cup in Semple Stadium, Thurles.
The Kilkenny school defeated their city neighbours Kilkenny CBS in the 2014 decider, before retaining the All-Ireland crown last year with a three-point victory over Thurles CBS last year.
Despite having lost a number of last years team, Kierans have still reached the All-Ireland Final, but not without an early scare.
In their first game in the Leinster Championship, Kierans narrowly came out on top against Borris Vocational School 1-10 to 1-9, having had to survive a late rally from the Carlow school.
A more convincing display followed when defeating Dublin Colleges in the Leinster Semi-Final, before overcoming Kilkenny CBS 2-12 to 1-11 in the Leinster Final.
Their best performance of the competition came when they defeated Harty Cup Finalists Our Ladys of Templemore 2-16 to 0-13 in the All-Ireland Semi-Final in Clonmel.
However, Ardscoil Ris will be their most difficult test yet.
There is a driven determination from the Limerick school in an attempt to win the Croke Cup for the very first time, having been twice denied by Kierans previously.
They defeated Kierans semi-final conquerors Our Ladys of Templemore 0-11 to 0-8 in the Harty Cup decider, before convincingly defeating Kilkenny CBS 3-15 to 1-13 in the quarter-final.
Four days later, a late point in the dying moments snatched victory in the Semi-Final against Presentation Athenry as they won 1-18 to 0-20.
Both schools are evently matched so a cracking final awaits Easter Monday.
Victory for Kierans will secure the second three-in-a-row in the schools history having achieved the feat from 1988-1990, but as already mentioned, it will be a titantic struggle.
Kierans will need the match the hunger that Ardscoil Ris crave in search of a first All-Ireland, and the Limerick school will be driven on by narrow defeats against Kierans in recent All-Ireland Finals.
In 2010, Kierans won 2-11 to 2-8, while a last gasp Thomas O’Hanrahan goal broke Ardscoil Ris hearts in 2011 when winning out 2-10 to 1-11.
Limerick hurling is enjoying a golden period at present following on from the success of Na Piarsaigh in the Club All-Ireland Final on St. Patricks, as well the Under-21s emphatic All-Ireland win against Wexford in the decider last September, while recently Mary Immaculate College defeated fellow Limerick college University of Limerick after extra-time in the Fitzgibbon Cup final.
Ardscoil Ris joint captain Peter Casey played a prominent part in Na Piarsaigh’s Club All-Ireland victory scoring 0-3 from play, and will take plenty of watching by the Kierans defence.