By Jamie Moore
The Belvedere U14s are getting ready for their fifth cup semi final in four seasons tomorrow.
The boys in blue travel to Gannon Park to face Malahide United in the SFAI U14 All Ireland Cup as they continue the defence of their All Ireland trophy.
Kick-off is at 11.30am.
Belvo Manager Darren Hennessy spoke to BelvedereFC.Com after training on Wednesday.
We started by asking him for his thoughts on yet another cup semi final.
“My main thoughts are that I am very proud of the boys. They have been simply brilliant over the last four seasons since I took over as Manager at the start of the U12 season. They have performed well in all of the big matches and I have seen them mature so much into a great group of players and young lads and we are all really looking forward to Saturday.”
Darren also wanted to mention some of his new players, who are cup tied and won’t be able to play on Saturday but to the transition to the DDSL single calendar season.
“We have always added players to the squad over the years and credit to all our new lads they have all settled in very well. It's unfortunate some will be cup tied for Saturday but they’ll be in and around the group to support them and have contributed really well this season so far.”
Hennessy is a former Malahide United player and is used to the surroundings of the excellent Gannon Park, which is a fitting venue for this big game.
“Gannon Park is a fantastic venue. Malahide own one of the best grounds in the country, the grass pitches are second to none which should lead to a really good game as both teams look to pass the ball. I played there with Malahide’s senior team for two years, so I know the place well and the boys have played there a lot too so we’ll be in quite familiar surroundings.”
So what will Darren, Tony and Brendan’s message be to the players just before kick-off?
“Our message to the boys will be very simple as it always is. We’ve done our work on the training pitch and feel we are well prepared for what we expect to be very tough game. We need to keep playing the way we have been. It has got the boys to a very good level and to the business end of this competition, hopefully we can add a little more to our game on Saturday and get through to the final.”
“Games like this are always easier to prepare for and we certainly won’t need to motivate the players. They know we only have one chance to make the final.”
Having played in four cup semi-finals since U12, and won the All Ireland semi-final at this stage last season, Darren says that experience will help the players.
“Our lads have good experience of these later stages of the cups so they’ll know what to expect during the build up and on the pitch, I think there’ll be a big crowd which should add to a great atmosphere as we face a very good Malahide side.”
Darren summed up what he expects from tomorrow’s opposition.
“Malahide are coming off the back of two very good wins in the last two weeks and I really like how their coaches have set them up over the last three seasons. They have become stronger every year and I think it’s going to be a really good game.”
Having won their competition by beating Midleton 4-3 last year, Hennessy hopes that will add some extra motivation to the players are they bid to make another final.
“For us to get to a second All Ireland final in a row would be fantastic. We have a great group and as I said earlier, we are very proud of them. If we perform to our best level we have a great chance to make the final, but Malahide are the exact same which should add to a cracker.”
Having lost on penalties in the Regional SFAI Cup semi final against Cherry Orchard last month, the Belvo boys practiced some spot kicks at the end of training on Wednesday night, just in case this game goes all the way.
“We have had a great week of training and yes we have also been working on our penalties because you never know how these cup games will go, there's no doubt it will be a very tough game and we need to be ready for penos if the game goes that far.”
“The players along with myself, Tony O’Neill and Brendan Keeley are ready for action and really looking forward to Saturday, may the best team win and hopefully it's a memorable game for Belvedere FC.”
Kick-off is Gannon Park is at 11.30am.