St Mochta’s manager Brian McCarthy says his side are eager to get back to business after being starved of competitive action over Christmas.
The LSL Sunday Senior side haven’t played a meaningful game of football since the end of November, when they beat Dunboyne to secure a spot in the last 16 of the FAI Intermediate Cup.
That result earned the Blanch side a spot in the first round of the FAI Senior Cup and means they went through the first half of the season with just a single defeat.
McCarthy says the attitude of his side has been first-class as they’ve trained well week-in, week-out over Christmas without the carrot of a game to come at the weekend.
That all changes on Friday as the 2016/17 champions make the short trip into the city centre to face Drumcondra/Stella Maris in the first round of the Charlie Cahill Cup.
The sides are familiar with one another, having faced each other many times in the top tier over the last few seasons, but Drums are struggling in Senior 1 having finished bottom of the pile last year.
McCarthy knows better than to underestimate any game in the Leinster Senior League, even against a side who’ve only won once all season.
“We’re looking forward to getting back playing games,” McCarthy tells the Dublin Gazette.
“We’ve played three friendlies in the period of Christmas. The attitude has been very good from the lads, in fairness, but we’re just looking forward to getting back playing.
“We’re very confident going into any game. On our day, we’re as good a team in the Leinster Senior League as there is. We’ve just got to perform.
“You can find yourself losing a game very easily in the Leinster Senior League, but on our day we can beat anyone.
“Hopefully we can start on Friday, have the right attitude and begin the second half of the season with the right mentality.”
One factor that will help Mochta’s guard against complacency has been their cup form – they’re still in all three cups, having been knocked out in the first round of the Cahill and Metro last year.
League form has been more mixed, with four draws from their nine games so far, but they have four games in hand over the sides at the top which could take them right back into contention.
McCarthy brought in ex-League of Ireland players Mick Daly and Craig Hyland, as well as UEFA Regions Cup winner Noel Murray, during the summer, while Gavin Kearney returned from injury.
And, while he won’t stand in any player’s way if they get an offer of league football, the manager is hoping to keep the whole squad together for the rest of the season.
“We went through a bit of a spell where we had seven or eight players out missing with injury.
“We managed that well and a lot of them players are back now.”
“There are a couple of League of Ireland clubs interested and that could change things, but there’s nobody coming in that I’ve talked to.
“But if the lads get an opportunity, they have to take it. It’s a step up. I don’t know where that is.”