BY GER McCARTHY
KINSALE manager Michael O’Connor is banking on his players’ previous All-Ireland experience to help them get over the line against Moycullen on Sunday.
O’Connor and his backroom team have been extremely busy, both on and off the pitch, in preparing their players for what will be a unique match-up at Kinsale’s home venue.
‘I don’t think an All-Ireland semi-final has ever taken place in Kinsale before so we are expecting a terrific occasion and big crowd,’ he said.
‘Our main task has been trying to keep everyone’s feet on the ground and not get too carried away over the past few weeks. It takes a big effort to properly prepare for such a high-profile game and make sure our players take things in their stride.
‘Hopefully, the players have learned from last year and getting to an All-Ireland junior final. Unsurprisingly, some of them were a little shell-shocked by the whole occasion that day so we are just hoping they will be better mentally prepared this time around.’
Connacht champions Moycullen are going to pose a huge test, both technically and physically, with their recent record suggesting this could be Kinsale’s hardest game since last year’s All-Ireland defeat and recent county final victory over Carbery Rangers. Moycullen won another Connacht intermediate club title after beating St Mary’s of Sligo by 6-23 to 5-4, underlining their scoring ability.
‘Moycullen have a couple of senior players on their team, so it is going to be a tough task for us, no doubt about it,’ O’Connor admitted.
‘They are a young side like ourselves but possess a couple of tall, strong players around the six-foot mark that are definitely going to cause us problems. Having that kind of height can make a big difference to any team.
‘Moycullen are certainly a very good footballing team and although it is a bit of unchartered territory for us they are still the Galway and Connacht champions so it’s going to be tough.’
‘The big thing for us, I believe, is we just have to play to our potential. We are facing a team in which all 30 of their panel are good footballers so it will all come down to who plays better on the day itself. We just hope that we perform and hope the occasion doesn’t get to too many of our players. I know we can play good football and know how much we’ve improved over the past year so hopefully that will see us through.’