Pike Rovers striker Cian Collins admits that the squad are desperate to avenge the FAI Junior Cup final defeat against Sheriff YC in 2016 when the Hoops face North End at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 2pm). The striker has been pivotal in the journey to the final and feels that the squad have learned lessons from the previous appearance at the national stadium.
“Yeah two years ago (Pike’s last final appearance) was very disappointing. We were all disappointed with how we performed on the day. We were a bit overawed arriving on to the Aviva and with a stadium that size our jaws dropped. We came out of the traps slowly in that game. We really want it this time around and we know what it’s like. We know what it takes to win”
The experience within the squad gives Collins plenty of confidence. North End boast a lot of ex League of Ireland experience including striker Paul Murphy. However, Collins along with Wayne Colbert, Steven McGann and Davy Ryan have varying levels of League of Ireland experience with Limerick in recent seasons.
“There was two lads who won it in 2011 (FAI Junior Cup final). Coming into this year with so may of us here again from 2 years ago, there is a lot of experience there.”
Like many of his teammates, Collins was quick to praise the influence of manager Mick Shiel on the squad since his return in Spetember. He cited preparation as the key reason for the positive change in results which has seen Pike lose just two games under the Dubliner.
“I know Mick a long time now. His man management skills are really good and tactically he is very aware. He loves preparation and everything is done right. He has put his spin on the club again.”
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