Galway United boss Tommy Dunne is adamant his young Tribesmen have the belief to cause an EA Sports Cup final shock against St Patrick's Athletic at Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday (6.05pm ).
The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, will attend Saturday's final, which Liam Buckley's Saints are strong favourites to win. However Dunne reckons United are primed for a battle.
“We have a belief in our group that we can win the cup,” Dunne says. “We know about Pat's ability and we aren’t naive; we know Pat’s are a strong outfit and can turn us over"
Remaining cool and composed throughout the contest is what Dunne wants from his team. “We will try to take the game to Pat’s. Even if we do concede, we must show the same spirit right until the end. Football can change in a heartbeat. You have to be positive in everything you can do.”
In the most recent SSE Airticity League premier division collision between the teams at Richmond Park on July 31, United contributed to a fine match before losing 3-1 following Conor Winn's dismissal.
“When we were away to Pat’s, outside of the sending off, we were quite competitive,” Dunne says. "We have a few new players now. First and foremost, we want to win a trophy, and we hope there will be a really good atmosphere. These boys have worked really hard, they deserve a good atmosphere. For Galway United, considering where it has come from, it would be brilliant to win a trophy.”
Alex Byrne and Padraic Cunningham are ruled out through injury, while Samuel Oji was suffering with flu earlier in the week. Considering the length of the United casualty list a month ago, Dunne is delighted with training recently.
“It is well documented the players we had out. We are a tight, small enough group. Getting fit and training well is important. Every game we play between now and the end of the season is a cup final. We worked extremely hard last year to get ourselves into these types of games. It is a learning curve, but it is a great experience for everyone.
“A lot of confidence can be taken, a lot of players were used in the cup run. It gave us a belief and showed we can compete with anyone. We have the capability to play and beat anyone. Over the course of the season we need to be more consistent. The training has been freshened up, having the guys back in. It is hugely important to have competition."
Dunne wants his United players to deliver a dynamic display and is not putting too much emphasis on league form.
“We aren’t overly concerned with the opposition we are playing. We have to look at ourselves. It is a cup final, a lot of the time form can go out the window when it comes to one-off games. I wouldn’t overly look into form. It is an opportunity to give a good performance hopefully with a full house here.
“St Patrick’s Athletic are coming to town seeing it as an avenue for a trophy. It is the same for us. It helps to get guys used to playing in big matches between now and the end of the season. From a club point of view, it is hugely important that we stay up. The league status is probably our main goal.”
Having claimed a semi-final success over Dundalk through goalkeeping heroics from Ger Hanley in a penalty shoot-out, United are preparing for every possibility again.
“We will be ready whatever scenario is thrown up. You are prepared for the long haul, but you need to have a good start. Pat’s are an experienced team that have played in a number of big games, cup finals and league deciders. For us, the Longford Town league game showed the mindset of the guys is good.”