Match Preview | FAI Centenary Junior Cup Final
Fixture: Villa FC v Pike Rovers
Competition: FAI 2021/22 Centenary Junior Cup Final
Location: Turners Cross, Cork
Date: Sunday, May 22
Tickets will be available on the gate for cash or card at Turners Cross on the day of the game. Prices are: €10 Adults, €5 Concessions, U16 FREE.
A special edition 16-page programme is now available to download for FREE. It features interviews with both clubs, past winners and the squad lists for the match. Download the match programme here...
The FAI 2021/22 Centenary Junior Cup final will be streamed live on FAI TV with the live coverage set to begin at 1.45pm on Sunday. Head to official FAI TV YouTube channel here.
Referee: Michael O Connor
Assistant Referee 1: Derek Stafford
Assistant Referee 2: Eric McCann
Fourth Official: Eamon Cusack
Reserve Assistant Referee: Simon Drislane
FAI TV spoke to the managers and captains of both teams ahead of the Intermediate Cup final. Watch the interviews on FAI TV below.
What he said - Villa FC manager Conor Coad
"It's been a long competition to get to this stage, we've had to come through a lot of tough competition but the players have been brilliant throughout and now we're looking forward to a great final.
"There was obviously a bit of a turning point early on when they (Salthill Devon) went down to ten men but we were confident of a result anyways. When the opposition gets a man sent off, you need to be in a position to take advantage of it. We managed to do that and score some really good goals on the day.
"They would have been disappointed to go out at that stage, being the club they are but we had a home draw for both the semi and quarter-finals so it was great to take advantage of that.
"It is a really competitive league at the moment. You've probably got around four or five different teams in Waterford who could realistically set their sights on winning it and also doing well in this competition of course. To have quality opposition in your own league is very important to improve the team and I think it has shown when we've come into the Junior Cup."
What he said - Pike Rovers player/manager Robbie Williams
"Butterflies, yeah. But we're excited. At any level, you want to play in the biggest matches and at this level, this is the biggest match so we're looking forward to it.
"It hasn't been that different to the League of Ireland in a lot of ways. At Pike, a lot of my players could step up, there is no doubting that and we've got great facilities and we're well looked after by the club so that's all great.
"The full-time and the fitness levels is a bit different of course, and you've got to work with that as a manager but when it comes to the players' application and desire to get the result, nothing much different.
"It is tough trying to play and trying to look after the boys at the same time. There was a point in the season where I thought I was just going to be the manager but then I got the bug of playing back. I thought I could help the boys on the pitch.
"Villa FC are probably the favourites, they're a strong team but we're going down there and put our best on. We need to enjoy ourselves and we need to believe in ourselves. I think this group of players can do it but try and focus on your game, and if we can handle the competition on the day, it might go well for us."
What he said - Villa FC Goalkeeper Craig Dunphy
"The boys are buzzing and there is a really great atmosphere. We've been together most evenings now for the past few months, training together, and there is a really good atmosphere around the group.
"It is a young group, most of us are under the age of 25 or so and a lot of us would have played for the club since we were young lads. We're all friends and that friendship in the group is great because it is great playing with friends.
"I had a couple of years away but since returning, the way we operate now is brilliant. The match preparation is really fantastic and the results have shown as a result. Villa FC is a club which has always been in my heart and it's great to be going to the Junior Cup final with them.
"Obviously, all our friends and family will be coming down but I reckon we'll see plenty of Waterford representation at the ground on Sunday and hopefully they can really get behind us."
What he said - Pike Rovers player Nathan O'Callaghan
"Spirits are very high in the camp. It has been an unbelievable run to the final and it has made us a very tight group which is then shown by our performances on the pitch.
"The community have really got behind us and you can see the same lads turning up each week to watch us now and support us so for people to have that interest and get behind us is brilliant.
"When the crowds are getting bigger and bigger and you come into the business end of the season, not just in the Junior Cup, but the league as well, you feel that momentum behind you and that's important heading into a final. We need to take it as another game down at Turners Cross. We can't get caught up in the occasion and need to make sure we're focused on getting the result. We can't let the occasion get to us and we'll be making sure to be focused on the day."
Villa FC - Route to the Final
Round 1: Tycor Football Club 0 - 10 Villa FC
Round 2: Dunmore FC 0 - 4 Villa FC
Round 3: Villa FC 7 - 0 Seaview Celtic FC
Round 4: Villa FC 2 - 1 Killarney Celtic FC
Round 5: Villa FC 3 - 1 Boyle Celtic FC
Round 6: Villa FC 4 - 2 St Michael's AFC
Quarter Final: Villa FC 2 - 1 Peake Villa FC
Semi Final: Villa FC 4 - 1 Salthill Devon FC
Pike Rovers - Route to the Final
Round 1: Pike Rovers FC 4 - 3 (AET) Aisling Annacotty
Round 2: Coonagh United 0 - 5 Pike Rovers FC
Round 3: Pike Rovers FC 6 - 0 Croom Utd
Round 4: Dunbar Celtic 0 - 6 Pike Rovers FC
Round 5: Athy Town AFC 0 - 3 Pike Rovers FC
Round 6: Pike Rovers FC 2 - 0 Ballinasloe Town AFC
Quarter Final: Hibernian FC 1 - 2 AET Pike Rovers FC
Semi Final: Oliver Bond Celtic 1 - 2 Pike Rovers FC