It’s not about the occasion. It is not about Ravenhill (the home of Ulster Rugby). It’s about going to Belfast on Sunday and finally taking home the bacon, the Gordon West Cup.
That is the view of veteran Letterkenny outhalf, Boyd Robinson, this week as Letterkenny prepare for yet another Gordon West Cup final and a showdown with Larne.
Saturday’s final is Letterkenny’s fifth Gordon West in eight seasons having lost to Predators in 2003, Larne 2005, Coleraine 2008 and Grosvenor last year.
Boyd Robinson, who is in his 20th season playing senior rugby along with Liam McGlynn, are the only members of this year’s squad that have featured in all four finals.
“The first final in 2003 against Predators of them all was probably the one we should have won. We lost that game 10-9 in a close game and it is definitely the one that got away,” bemoaned Boyd, still feeling the pangs of regret of what might have been.
Larne, Saturday’s opponents, were their conquerors the next time they made their way back to Ravenhill, with the Antrim club convincing winners.
The black and ambers have come out on the wrong side of the scoreboard in more recent times to Coleraine in 2008 - with two Letterkenny men Adam Moore and Michael Dunleavy playing for Coleraine - and Grosvenor last season.
Juts two points separated them and Coleraine (21-19) while Grosvenor had ten points to spare in their 27-17 victory.
The team has changed significantly in the last few years with the younger players taking over form the old guard.
Jeremy Worth, Arthur McMahon, Denis Faulkner, Jason Black and Michael McGarvey, who who played in the first final and Roger Roulstone (who returned for the 2005 final) have all called time.
“The club has done a lot of work at underage in recent years and a number of young players have made the step up and the team is going well again. We are in the Gordon West final and are also top of our section in the league and are pushing for promotion.
“We have lost just one game in the league against Monaghan the weekend before last and are in a good position though we have a number of tough league games coming up including the final game against Monaghan at home. That will probably decide who is promoted.
“The league is divided in two sections this year and Larne are top of their section too so they are obviously going well. They also beat Monaghan in their semi-final so we know what we are up against. It is going to be a tough, hard game and there should not be much in it.
“Everything is going well in preparations. We had a good win over Cavan in the league on Saturday and we are all looking forward to it. The fact that we have the bulk of the team from last year means that the lads have all experience of playing a final in Ravenhill. This is a big plus, as is the return of Mark Scott and hopefully we can get the result and finally put our Gordon West jinx behind us.
“It’s not about the occasion any more. It’s not about getting the opportunity to play in Ravenhill. It’s all about concentrating on the game and having our total focus on the game and finally bringing the Gordon West across the border,” says Boyd.
After four final day disappointments Boyd, is hoping for cup success. He has just two league winners medals adorning his trophy cabinet after 20 years behind the scrum, 18 of them with his native Letterkenny. The other two seasons were in the colours of City of Derry in the All-Ireland League