There’ll be no question of split loyalties when Inchicore Athletic player/assistant manager Stephen Quigley faces his former side St Patrick’s Athletic in the FAI Cup first round next month.
The defender spent four-and-a-half years at Richmond Park during a player career that took in spells with Dundalk, Shelbourne and, most recently, Athlone Town.
For the past couple of years, he’s played with his local Leinster Senior League club while assistant manager David Hyland on the coaching side.
Hyland’s young, mostly local-based side surprised many by dumping their Pearse Park tenants Crumlin United out on qualifying in the previous round.
Club officials had longed in the lead-up to last week’s draw to see their local League of Ireland club come out of the hat – and that’s exactly what happened as they were picked out alongside the Saints.
It sets up what promises to be a huge game for the Inchicore area, where planners are currently mulling over a proposal from the Saints to build a new stadium and shopping complex.
First, though, the club will have to get the job done on the pitch against an amateur side from whom nothing is expected – which is the perfect set-up for an upset.
“I’ve been winding him up about it all week,” Hyland told the Dublin Gazette.
“My assistant Stephen Quigley spent nearly five years at Pats. I keep winding him up telling him it’s his testimonial out there. He’s looking forward to it.”
Hyland’s young side narrowly missed out on promotion from Sunday Senior 1A last season as their challenge tapered off in the final months.
They had already exceeded the expectations of many to even challenge as an inexperienced, but talented and committed, side put in a big challenge.
They took that attitude into the Crumlin clash, and will do so again when they take on the 2014 FAI Cup winners.
The tie is set to be moved to Richmond Park as Pearse Park, which Inchicore rent, wasn’t deemed suitable when Crumlin faced Dundalk in last season’s competition.
It could turn out to be the ideal arrangement for all involved, however, as the tie has the potential to catch the imagination of the whole community, with the threat of a giant-killing to spice things up.
“It’s going to be extremely difficult. You’ve a full-time professional football club against an amateur team. I do believe we’ll be fearless.
“We’re going to have to have an extremely lucky night and they’ll have to have an off-night, but I wouldn’t be fearing it in any way.”
Unfortunately for Hyland, he’ll have to leave the running of the side to Quigley as he had booked time away for a family wedding when an FAI Cup spot was a remote possibility.
“I’m not around for it, believe it or not. I’m on my holidays.
“I’ve a family wedding thing on, and my holiday has been booked for the past year.
“We were weighing up could I come home on the Friday, but it would mean I’m coming home after nearly three or four days, so I’m going to miss it.”