BY RYAN FERRY
Swilly Rovers are hopeful that their lack of football will not deter their chances of advancing to the fourth round of the Intermediate cup when they face UCD in Swilly Park on Sunday at 2pm.
The Ramelton side have not played since their victory against Kildrum Tigers in the last round on October 27, and they will face a difficult task against a UCD team who are playing regularly in their league at present.
“We’re probably as well prepared as we can be at this time of the season. We haven’t done much, we’ve played no friendlies or anything like that, but we should have a decent line-up available and all we can do is our best,” said Swilly Rovers manager, Jason Gibson.
“We would still have the bulk of our squad. We’ve lost a few to the under 19s and injuries, but we should have David Fisher and Decky Curtis back in the squad from our last game against Kildrum.”
UCD sit in fifth position in the Major Division of the Leinster Senior League, and Gibson admits that they come into the game in better stead due to their participation in Winter football.
“They have been playing regular football and that has to be an advantage to them ahead of our game. Our last competitive match was in the last round, which is far from ideal.
“But the one thing we have going for us, is that we have home advantage, and I would expect to see a big crowd in Swilly Park on Sunday.”
The Swilly manager says he does not know too much about Sunday’s opponents, but he will be sourcing information before the weekend’s encounter.
“I haven’t done too much scouting yet, but Kieran Harte from Ramelton used to play with them, so I’ll be tapping him up for information.
“We also have Eoin Ferry in our squad, who is a student in UCD and he was involved with their Freshers team last season. He should know a bit about them, and that will give us another insight.”
Gibson’s men travelled to Dublin last year to play Phoenix FC in the Intermediate Cup Third Round, but they performed poorly and suffered a 5-0 defeat. Gibson is hoping for better luck this year.
“We went up to play Phoenix in Dublin last year, and they gave us a bit of a hiding on an astroturf pitch,” said the former Lagan Harps manager.
“UCD are playing in the top division in the Leinster Senior League, which is a good standard, so we’re expecting that they will be a good team. We’re looking forward to it and we’ll certainly give it a go.
“With the league rumoured to be moving to an earlier start next year, we’ll probably be in pre-season by the time the next round is played.
“That would be something to push the lads on and it might encourage players to sign for the club. So, there is an incentive for winning this Sunday.”
Gibson took the opportunity to add his congratulations to new Finn Harps manager , Ollie Horgan on his appointment, and he hopes that Horgan will open the door to more Intermediate players, who are capable of making the step up to senior football.
“I’d like to wish Ollie all the best with the Finn Harps job. I think it’s a good appointment for Harps.
“With the budget constraints they have at the moment, and their difficulty in signing playing players, they’ll probably be looking to bring in players from Intermediate football, and nobody knows the scene better than Ollie.”
Elsewhere, Ulster Senior League champions Cockhill Celtic will travel to Dublin to take on Crumlin United in the Intermediate Cup.
Donal O’Brien’s team pulled off a remarkable comeback to dump Drumkeen United out of the last round in extra-time, and they will go into the game buoyed on by that result.
However, they face a tricky tie away to Crumlin, who are currently second in the Leinster Senior League after picking up six wins from their seven games in the league.
Cockhill have continued training during the close season for this fixture, and they will travel to Dublin with confidence that they can get the result they need and advance to the fourth round of the Intermediate cup.
EXCITEMENT is building in Ramelton in advance of this Tuesday, (December 5) evening’s switching on of the Christmas lights...