ONLY Parkville stand between New Oak and back-to-back quadruples. For the guts of two years, New Oak have been the best team in Carlow, nobody has been able to compete with them and they’ve so far won all seven trophies available to them since the beginning of Gavin Dowling’s management era. There’s one more obstacle in the way of getting their eighth and secure back-to-back clean sweeps. Parkville haven’t had their best season in the league this season, finishing seventh with results just not falling their way. However, they’ve defied the odds in the cup and beaten both St. Pat’s and Kilree so far this season.
Speaking after his side’s semi-final win over Crettyard last Thursday, New Oak manager, Gavin Dowling says that it’s important that they don’t get complacent or get carried away.
“In fairness myself and Eddie Shaw have been saying this all along that possibly the best footballing side we’ve come up against in Carlow this season has been Parkville. We beat them here and it might have looked easy, no way was it. They gave us a super game that day. Same in Parkville, I think they’ve given us the best footballing match in terms of football played against us. They’re a physical side and we’ll expect tough opposition. I’ve been in Killeshin and I’ve seen the surface out there, the grass pitch is looking really, really good so we can’t have any complaints out on that grass. We’re all looking forward to it, one more game, one more win hopefully but we aren’t going to get it easy, we’re going to have to go and work hard for the week ahead now. We can be beaten so we need to stay focused and stay working hard consistently.”
He added that the secret to their success has been the togetherness of the squad. “Like I said from the very start when I took the manager’s job, all the lads are best friends, they’re down the pub together, they train together, they holiday together, they do everything together. So, on the pitch, it comes natural to them, they back each other, every game is a battle that they just seem to come out on top. I’m super proud of each and every one of them. Any position you ask them to play, any time you rotate, some of them might put a face on but when it comes to their turn to come into the team, they go and do a job for me. Every one of them I’m super proud of. I’d say there’s been about 30-35 lads that have been in the group, not one of them has let me down, super players. You see Dylan [Keightley] missing tonight, James [McGrath] comes in for him, he’s left the midfield position to go right full and he’s probably played two outstanding games against Crettyard in a row. Cian Cleary was awesome in the final against Crettyard, he was a constant threat to them, unfortunately he had a knock against Kilree and his recovery, it seemed to upset it a little bit playing on the astro in the Premier Cup final and so didn’t get back in time for tonight so look we’ll have him fit and firing and we’ll have Roy Byrne coming back too so we’ll have competition all over the pitch.”
Parkville manager, Podge Rooney says that it’s important that his side play their own game and focus on what they can do.
“We need to worry about ourselves, we can’t worry about what New Oak are going to do. If we focus on our game plan we have a chance. It’s about concentration, the team that makes the least mistakes will win. We’ve had good numbers at training this week and everybody is buzzing. We know that we’ve played some really good football against New Oak, at home we held them for about half an hour and then we let in four goals in a short space of time and the game got away from us. In New Oak, we were down to 10 men against them and still played some really nice football. There are lads in the squad from last year who remember the loss against New Oak in the Premier Cup final last season and there’s some that don’t so it’s a good balance. We’re looking forward to it and we can’t wait for it, we’ll give it our best shot anyway, when you get past a quarter-final of a cup anything can happen.”
Douglas Jewellers Carlow Cup Final,
New Oak Boys v Parkville
Saturday 13 May
By Harry Shorthose