Cockhill Celtic will make history on Friday when they compete in the FAI Senior Cup for the first time, but manager Donal O’Brien is determined that his players will give a strong account of themselves in the second round clash with Drogheda United at Hunky Dory’s Park. (Kick off 8pm).
While this is the Inishowen kingpins’ first game in the country’s premier cup competition, playing League of Ireland Premier Division opposition is far from unchartered territory for the Ulster Senior League Champions, and their manager wants them to seize the opportunity to repeat their 3-1 win over Galway United back in 2011.
“During my time in charge we’ve played Mervue United, Finn Harps, Galway and Sligo Rovers and the only game we were outclassed in was against Sligo when they were at the peak of their powers - that has to give us a lot of confidence,” he argued.
“The players are all up for the game, we’re not going down there for a night out and we know if we are hungry enough we can give them a game.
“We were unbeaten in the league last year and we haven’t lost yet this year so we are a side who aren’t used to defeat. Our form this year has been down to the hard work of the players who reacted well to our disappointment at St Mochta’s in the FAI Intermediate Cup.”
The Cockhill boss will be without the holidaying Garbhan Friel for the game but he is hopeful of adding the significant acquisitions of Greencastle man Matty Henry and Culdaff’s Brendan Fildara to his first team squad for Friday’s game.
The Louth side have been on a three game losing league run where they have conceded 13 goals in just three games but, having taken in their recent defeat to Derry City, O’Brien is still acutely respectful of Robbie Horgan’s side.
“I got a look at Drogheda in the Brandywell two weeks ago where they won 2-0 but they had nine corners to Derry’s four and their front man Gary O’Neill impressed me,” he continued. “They are on a poor run but they’ll have to turn things around at some stage and they will be looking at this game as one where they can start to do that.
“This is the first time the club has played in this competition and we want to give a good account of ourselves and the Ulster Senior League. It’s a chance for our younger players to make a name for themselves but also for our established players to prove how good they are.
“We’ll approach the game in the same way we have approached our games in the EA Sports League Cup in the last couple of years. We’ll look to keep things tight in the first 20 minutes and as the game goes on hopefully we can grow in confidence and start to inflict our own game on them.”
By Johnny Craig
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