Corduff Aiming for Cup Clean Sweep
Focus now turns to the national final on Saturday, May 21 at Whitehall as they take on College Corinthians of Cork looking to add the All-Ireland honours and a clean-sweep for the season.
Reflecting on Friday’s action, Corduff manager Liam Keating found that it had the bonus of providing a distraction to this weekend’s showpiece.
"We just came through a really tough final against Shelbourne Academy on Friday which went to sudden death penalties. Our mindset was preparing for that first of all," Keating said.
"Coming through Friday meant that we had a massive high over the weekend. We regrouped Monday and it is only now that we are focussing on this week. It is probably good in a way as we haven’t been dwelling on it for too long.
"On a chat with the lads yesterday I told them that we are only halfway there which is the way we are looking at it, as we want to add that second cup to the cabinet. So it’s only half-time in our opinion and we want to push on come Saturday."
The Dubliners have had an impressive run to the final only conceding one goal and racking up goals at the other end. Keating feels his side are more than a match for any team on their day.
"We are strong all over the park and I feel if the lads turn it on, we can beat anybody. We have played a few National League sides and there are a lot of our lads who realistically could easily and perhaps should be playing at that level," Keating commented.
"This team is 10-years in the making and I have been involved since they were Under-8’s. We have brought players in and we have six players playing in the EA Sports National League’s with four at St. Pat’s and two at Shamrock Rovers from the same group. We have been able to progress those lads, two of whom are internationals and we are still here where we are today preparing for the final.
"We’ve come a long way as a team and a club. The club is in the NDSL and the team dominated that for a few years. We then moved into the DDSL and have always done really well. We’ve gone to different countries and won tournaments, we’ve won leagues and cups here too.
"I feel we’ve managed to recruit well for the players we have lost. The club has a good name, a good way of doing things and we’ve managed to keep players coming through the ranks. We also had a strong second team with four or five brought trough too. So I feel we have done things the right way and being successful means people want to play for that team. To be honest, it’s been a struggle at times but really enjoyable.
"It's one thing we haven’t won. We have won cups, leagues, regionals but an all-Ireland has eluded us. This is the year we want to bring it home. Firstly as the club has never won it, but also for Blanchardstown and Dublin 15 as a region. I have gotten texts and messages from other coaches at clubs nearby and I think for the whole community and Dublin 15 perspective we feel we have their support."
Turning attention to this week, Keating is hoping his side can manage the pressure from a vocal support with the familiarity with the pitch also a potential advantage.
"I like how this cup is run by the Football Association of Ireland and separate from the league side of things. It has been very professional and at the weekend we will have a good pitch, fourth officials and it is just great to be part of it all. However, we prepare for every game the same, it’s just down to business and trying to get the job done," Keating continued.
"We trained Tuesday and will train again on Thursday and Friday ahead of the game on Saturday. To be honest, we haven’t done huge prep for Saturday as we were focused on last Friday. The preparation will be the same as normal and we will train well in the build-up. We will meet early then on Saturday morning, have breakfast together and then get on the bus to head to the game. We will do our normal ritual with a pitch walk and do the same warm-up.
"There was a huge crowd at the game last Friday and the players rose to that challenge. However we are aware that it can easily have a negative effect too with the added pressure. We have played on the pitch at Home Farm a few times so it’s not completely new to us.
"We are not travelling but in earlier rounds we certainly went the length and breadth of the country so it’s a bit of a relief. My only fear for the day is stage fright. I’ll try my best to motivate and prepare them for these games but we have experience of getting caught out and just not turning up.
"It can happen at any level to any team and it is my real fear and I am sure the College Corinthians manager is the same. If the two teams go toe to toe and are at their best, there is nothing more you can do.
"I know Cherry Orchard played Corinthians and were beaten but the focus has been very much on our own game. I feel if we can turn it on, we have a chance against any team."
Corduff FC - Route to the Final
Preliminary Round: Corduff FC 4 – 0 Lourdes Celtic FC
Round 1: Templeogue FC 1 – 4 Corduff FC
Round 2: Corduff FC 3 – 0 Harolds Cross YFC
Round 3: Corduff FC 8 – 0 Fenit Samphires
Round 4: Carrigaline AFC 0 – 7 Corduff FC
Quarter-Final: Newmarket Celtic 0 – 8 Corduff FC
Semi-Final: Killarney Celtic 0 – 2 Corduff FC
Fixture: Corduff FC v College Corinthians
Competition: FAI 2021/22 Centenary U17 Cup Final
Location: Home Farm, Dublin
Date: Saturday, May 21