“It’s the waiting that’s the worst part, you are always looking forward to the next game after you win the last, but it’s been the waiting for the game that’s been the hardest thing.” Well the waiting is almost over for Iorras Aontaithe and their player/manager Eric Reilly as this Sunday they make the trip to Limerick to take on Fairview Rangers with a place in the last four of the FAI Junior Cup up for grabs.
Following on from their win over Kinsale in the last 16 of the competition in Cork, the Barony side have been hard at work preparing for this next challenge and Reilly knows his side are well keyed up for this game. “Ever since then, we have been getting ready for this game, it’s strange since the Pike Rovers game (last 32 ) the lads have been looking at winning the competition, not just the next game. We’re taking it game by game, but we’ve got this far so it’s let’s go for it all.”
While Iorras have never been this far before in the senior cup there are plenty players with experience of winning national competitions playing on Sunday. “When you look at it, there’s me who is 35 and Stephen Carolan who is 32, the next oldest in the squad would be 23 or 24, and these lads have at least six years’ Super League experience behind them and the majority of them have won an FAI Youth Cup. These lads know how to win and what it takes to win at the top level so why not go for it.”
The never ending season
Erris have been going solid at it since the Super League started in the spring of 2008, but even with over 12 months non stop football under their belts they haven’t been slacking off in training and the whole camp has been buzzing on the training field according to Reilly. “It’s been flying lately, everyone is giving more than one hundred per cent. While people may think they know the best side to go out on the field the next day, every day there are lads fighting for a place in the team. There are no certainties and everyone knows it, and we have been getting some great performances from the lads.” After the long trip to Kinsale for the last round of the competition, Iorras Aontaithe are back on the road again this weekend heading back to Munster, but thankfully to make a shorter trip to Limerick, but it’s still a long trek for the men from north Mayo.
“As I said before, it’s nearly always a long haul for us no matter where we go. We would have liked a home draw but you get what you take and we are ready to go down there and win the game. I was speaking to one of the lads involved with Pike Rovers during the week and they reckon that it will be a very good game. They played Fairview a few weeks ago and he gave me a bit of info on them and what to expect but, it’s all about us going out there and playing our game, not playing their’s. It’s all there for the taking really now, win this game and there is no reason that we can’t go on and win the competition, as I said before there are plenty of lads here with experience of winning FAI competitions so they’ll have no fear. It’s not about just the 11 lads who go out on the field, everyone has a part to play and a part to play for in the game. You only have to look at the last round, where it was one of the lads who impressed in training got his place on the bench and came on to play key role in winning the game. So they all know that there are places up for grabs. We had a training game last weekend, the possibles against the probables you could say, and there was nothing left in the dressing room, everyone went for everything which is what you want to see. One things for sure, Iorras won’t be going down there with any doubts about their own ability and as Reilly said “the waiting about to be over, it’s now about what we do on the field.”