The match will be shown live on RTE2, coverage begins at 4.30 pm
Friday night was a tremendous achievement for the team and staff to win four titles in a row with two games to spare. Apart from the ultimate result and prize, were you pleased with the performance against Pat’s or was it just about winning on Friday night?
“We know if we perform the result usually follows, but you have to put it into context and understand the pressure situation we were in. I think it affected our performance and we weren’t at our best. In these critical games sometimes the most simple tasks can become difficult. But what the players did was what they always do, they found a way to win, which was brilliant”
You said prior to the 2019 FAI Cup final that the players should embrace rather than fear the longing to end that FAI Cup drought of 32 years. Was that message again to the fore this week as the hype increased after the Drogheda game?
“We’ve embraced it from day one. We said it after the cup final in 2019, the talk was to win the league. Then can we win two, then three and go and do the fourth? So, it’s always been about embracing it and understanding it, recognising it. The players have been brilliant at that.”
Again reflecting on 2019, so many players then are still involved now, so how important was that cup win in starting this four-in-a-row league title journey?
It was a real turning point for us. I felt up to that point we were slowly getting better and better. But in order to be successful you have to understand what it takes to win and win big games. You only get that on the pitch. It’s not given to you, you have to earn that on the pitch and the players did that in the 2019 cup final. I just felt in the group, we grew so much from that. So that cup win was definitely the catalyst for everything we’ve done.”
It took us seven league games to get a win this season and some people had already written off our title chances in March. Does this make this title any sweeter than the others, or is the four-in-a-row achievement just the best answer to it all?
“I think the four in a row is the best answer to it. Obviously, we’ve had our critics this year and we didn’t have the best start in terms of results. I felt performances were good but results weren’t matching that. A lot of people outside this group wrote us off, thought we were done and finished and there was some silly talk going around. But we just focussed and stayed together and blocked out the noise. The players have stepped up and answered all those critics with an incredible achievement.”
Celebrations have been to the fore and deservedly so since Friday night, but we have a fixture to fulfil in Cork this Bank Holiday Monday, will it be difficult to mentally focus the team for this game?
“No, obviously we’ve enjoyed the weekend, it’s important we do enjoy it as this success doesn’t happen very often. But the players are the best in the country and have been for quite some time. They show up every day and every week and it will be no different in Cork. We’ll do what we always do, try and win the game, that doesn’t change. Then we’ll have the Sligo game at home where we’ll get the trophy and we’ll enjoy that night and weekend again. But as I said, these players show up every week so Monday will be no different.”
Finally, Ronan Finn limped off early on Friday, how is he and did everyone else come through the Pats game okay?
“Ronan is out for Cork. Hopefully, we can get him back for the Sligo game. He hurt his knee and ankle but we’re hoping it’s not too bad. Everyone else is okay, a few knocks as normal but nothing major which is good.”