Limerick District League will travel to Kerry to take on Kerry District League in Mounthawk Park, Tralee on Sunday afternoon in the final group game of the Oscar Traynor Trophy (2pm).
Limerick District League assistant manager insists his side are ‘very optimistic’ heading into the game after collecting three points from a possible six already. Casey-Ryan is fully aware of what is at stake as the District League bid to reach the last eight of the tournament.
“It’s always hard to play a team away from home. We have already played the Desmond League away but this one is a little further afield so there is a bit more preparation in terms of travel. We are optimistic and hopefully we can go and do the business this time.”
Limerick have played two games in the group so far, earning a 2-1 home victory over Clare at Jackman Park but also being comprehensively beaten 4-0 in a poor display against Limerick Desmond League in Askeaton. Casey-Ryan admits a marked improvement is needed on Sunday if the team is to progress.
“In the first game against Clare, we went behind and showed great character to come back. The next night out against the Desmond League we set ourselves up wrong and we will take that on board ourselves off the field and figure out how to do it right for next time.
We need to make a strong start and not go behind. In fairness, the lads have taken a lot of responsibility and have said to us that they feel they can do a lot better.
We are looking forward to Sunday as the Desmond League defeat has been the only real downside for everyone involved so far.”
The coach feels that the long gap between games was not beneficial for his side who wanted to improve on the last performances but feels they will be even hungrier and manager John Grehan has another strong squad to choose from.
“John (Grehan) deals with contacting players and keeps me updated on where we are at. I spoke with John earlier today and we have a very strong squad and there are no issues in that regard.
It’s a case of putting the jersey on and doing the business now. The lads seem to have the right mind frame at the moment and Limerick junior soccer is in a good place and all of them are playing competitively locally and can’t wait to get out and play.”
From the opening 20 man squad names, two noticeable absentees were Jason Hughes and Stephen Bradley, When asked about any future involvement for the duo, the Mungret Regional clubman said that JHughes had never been involved with the squad after the provisional squad was names but Bradley will be available for selection.
“Jason Hughes was never involved in the panel. Stephen Bradley will be available to us. He will be chomping at the bit and hoping to provide us with an impact.
The only change from the very original panel that was posted is that Eoin Hanrahan has left the squad and we have replaced him with James Fitzgerald from Fairview Rangers.
James is young and enthusiastic and he plays off the cuff which is always good to have in the ranks. There are plenty of options and plenty of different ways that we can approach the game. “
The management duo sprung two surprises for the game against the Limerick Desmond League last month when former Limerick FC duo Clyde O’Connell and Connor Ellis were omitted from the starting 11.
Leon accepts that the approach to the game may have been incorrect but also feels that they were trying to manage players correctly with two games in five days.
“We set ourselves up in a particular way against the Desmond League and John and I will take it on the chin as there are things we could have done better.
Having said that, we were also trying to manage players that were carrying knocks. They had made themselves available to play but Connor had picked up a knock on the Thursday against Clare, so we were just managing it as the lads had their own junior commitments as well.
It’s all about speaking to the players and being open with each other. We learned a lot from our last game and we will get it right for the game coming up.”
Grehan’s assistant has been delighted to take the opportunity of coaching such a high calibre of player and has enjoyed the experience thoroughly thus far.
“It’s been great as you are dealing with a calibre of player with huge experience locally and have played in the League of Ireland as well. They are as good as you will get in the local region.
I have been involved in different set-ups and you feel as though it will be intimidating when you walk into the changing room but the lads have been top notch and real gentlemen.
The one thing that struck me was the connection that they have from opposing clubs and they know each other long enough. They are all pulling together and there is a great camaraderie there.”
If Limerick District League pick up a victory on Sunday, it will guarantee passage to the last eight regardless of the result between Limerick Desmond League and Clare District League but a draw would leave the side needing a favour from the Desmond League to ensure passage. It is their own hands which satisfies Casey-Ryan.
“We know what we have to do and we may as well look at it as a cup final. We cant afford to think of any other permutations as we just have to go out there and win the match.
This group want to go out and win every game they play so we just have to get ourselves set up right. We aren’t going to Kerry for a spin, we are going down there to do a job. “