LSL Division 1
Great win on Sunday and other quarter final of the FAI Umbro Intermediate cup. A very special goal won it ? Yeah, Jordan's goal was incredible, it was an unbelievable strike, Jordan has the quality and talent to score goals like that, it was a very tough game but we played some great football and deserved to win. Defensively we were excellent, Bryan Fitzpatrick was man of the match, he was outstanding again. I was very proud of all the players. All you want now in the quarter final is a home draw. Every side left in the competition is a top side, we have great belief and we are looking forward to the draw, but the focus now is firmly on the league again.
Going back to the start of the season, did you set the team any targets ?
Not really, we talked about how it was important to get a decent start and with the players we had,and the lads who arrived we knew we should be capable of finishing in a very healthy position. You have to be ambitious and so far so good. We have to maintain it now and treat every game like a cup final.
Did you have any concerns it would take the team time to gel ?
Pre Season was tough, but that's what we planned. We wanted to play quality opposition and with the players we have, I always felt it would click very soon. We could have played teams and scored plenty of goals, that's no use though, someone said to me it builds confidence, but the reality is, these players are all confident. They are all fantastic players.
David Somers has scored 14 goals so far, that's some return.
He just loves scoring goals, he's scored some great goals and hopefully he will continue to score many more. David is brilliant on and off the pitch, he's a great lad, David and Karl are gifted players who just love football. They have the ability but they also possess great tenacity to win the ball back, like all all our players ,they are not afraid of hard work.
What performance has pleased you the most ?
Verona. It certainly wasn't our best performance but derbies can be like that, it was a horrible day and the pitch was very heavy but we grinded out a win. Craig scored the winner and he's been fantastic for the club, when you think back to his injury time winner at home to Dunboyne, he's done it so many times. Glen scored a superb goal to equalise. I was delighted for our supporters who really do give us top class support home and away.
Lee Dixon, Paul McCullagh, Christopher Doran and all arrived after Christmas have they settled into the squad ?
Yeah, I'm very pleased with the lads. Paul is getting very close to the required fitness level, he's a very talented player. Christopher is a good addition to the squad, he has a great attitude. All the players must have the right attitude. Lee arrived injured and in hindsight I probably rushed him. Heavy pitches and awful conditions didn't help him, he's a top quality player and he's going to be a big player for us, he's looking very sharp at the moment.
How much of challenge is it to keep all the players happy ?
It's a big challenge, they all want to play. I can see things from the players perspective. In fairness to the players nobody has complained they understand we need a big squad and it's competitive, players get injured and suspended so to compete you need plenty of cover and options. It's when you don't have the challenge, that's when you have a problem.
You have lowered the profile of the squad considerably, was that a concious decision when signing new players ?
Absolutely, we discussed it mid way through last season. The average age was 33 and it's now 23, but you have to find the right young players,ability, attitude, desire, doing the right things, the players who have arrived all have that. Nathan Brown is 19, top class player who will just get better and better.
How much of an influence is Glen Crowe with the younger players ?
Glen to be honest is a massive influence on everyone, coaches, all the players, he's won the lot. He never misses training, he's a brilliant character and some of the stuff he does on a pitch, incredible, it's an absolute pleasure to work with Glen. I can't speak highly enough of Glen.
The players have a great relationship with Bobby Ryan your assistant. Is he the good cop ?
Haha ! Bobby is definitely the good cop. Bobby is top class, again like Glen he has great experience and the lads really respect him. He's the perfect assistant and we have a great relationship although he's very slow collecting the subs. He needs to sort that out, but no seriously Bobby is fantastic.
How vital is a good back-room team ?
It's huge. I surround myself with people I trust. Trust is so important to me. Steffano our physio is excellent, the best around and he's a great guy. Bobby and Donal are exceptional and also Vinny Nulty our senior secretary although not in the dugout he's very important, his efficiency and knowledge really makes my job so much easier, we are very lucky to have a senior secretary who's so good at his job.
Thankfully we haven't seen too many defeats this season, do they stay in the system long ?
No. We lost to Cherry Orchard and bounced back straight away be beating Glenville 3-0. You have to learn from defeats but it's a waste of time and energy worrying or thinking what if. The next game can't come quick enough because you want to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.
Is it the same with wins ?
Yeah, more or less, don't get carried away. Football has a habit of biting you when you least expect it, but you do need to enjoy them. Savour them and enjoy them and then start preparing for the next challenge.
Best advice you received as a coach ?
Be honest with players, they are grown men and will respect you more. I think you also have to make sure they enjoy the football and never give in, we have seen that so many times with late goals, keeping going. Football can be a crazy game so keep believing and you can reap the rewards.
What's your highlight since you got appointed ?
So many to be honest it's very difficult to pick one. First promotion was brilliant, second promotion was amazing, Cork City in the FAI Cup and playing in Turners cross was great for everyone in the club, players, staff, supporters, when you get a taste of that you want some more. The Moore Cup win was really really special, Paddy Nulty who very sadly passed away was known as Moore, so to win that was very emotional and special. It was a feeling of relief and joy when the final whistle went.
Did you feel extra pressure in the final ?
Yeah, it was pressure because you want to win so badly, you don't want the players to let themselves down because you know they are good enough. It was my first final, I also felt it was a next step we had to take, win some silverware. It's a great feeling to bring a cup back to the club, we had a huge crowd and it was great to see so many of our schoolboy players supporting the team. Iv'e noticed a lot of our younger players regularly attending games now and that's great.
How nice was it to win it with lads, who were in the side when you were appointed ?
Yeah, I was delighted for the lads, Billy O' Neill lifted the cup with Luke Harrison. Luke Harrison had another superb game on Sunday, Gavin Smith's out injured, he was in brilliant form before his injury. Jonathan Lyons is a big player for us, he's having another great season, the lads have shown everyone they can play at the highest level. Billy has cemented his name in the history of the club and will go down as one of the greats, he's a top player. I was delighted for everyone connected with the club. Great memories and the aim now is to create more.
Did you enjoy the trip to play Cork City ?
Yeah, I did enjoy it, you have a team to prepare, but you have to enjoy the experience. It was great for the whole club, to play in Turners cross what brilliant. The club was in the spotlight, Soccer Republic were fantastic with amazing coverage of the club of national TV. We saw what a brilliant side Cork are that night, they went so close to winning the league, just pipped on the final day by Dundalk. The Cork fans staying behind to applaud our players off the pitch was a great touch. Our players went down to our own supporters to thank them at the final whistle, so it was a great touch by the Cork fans to wait until we left the pitch on a cold night.
Top of the league at the half way stage, this could be the most successful year yet, do you think that far ahead ?
I try to take it one game at a time, I will be honest and say the next five games are massive now, if we do what we need to do we will be fine. We are playing well and we are a very hard team to beat.
Leixlip away on Friday night, can we expect many changes to the side ?
We will probably make some changes from Sunday's game, we have a good record in Leixlip, it's another tough game, you always have to be ready and treat every game as a cup final, Newbridge bottom of the league and we came from behind to win 3-2, it was a tough game, no easy games in this league, we are looking forward to the game and hopefully we get the right result.
How do you relax away from football ?
Spending time with my wife Louise and daughter Ava. They are great supporters of me and the club, they are very proud of what we have achieved. The job does take up a lot of time, but thankfully Louise is understanding. I also like a game of Golf and meeting family and friends.