Home Farm hit the jackpot in the FAI Cup draw as they drew the defending League of Ireland and cup champions Cork City at home.
Whitehall Stadium will be packed out for the visit of the Rebel Army but it’ll be a case of renewing old acquaintances for Home Farm manager John Hand.
Hand was part of the Tolka Rovers management side who came up against Avondale in the FAI Intermediate Cup semi-final in 2006 and lost out in a replay after extra time.
Now into his third year in charge at Home Farm, Hand recalls how Tolka were convinced they had the measure of the Cork side but found even then the inspirational Caulfield provided a bit extra.
“I was part of the Tolka Rovers management team that went down to play John Caulfield’s Avondale. So I know exactly how organised [his teams are].
“He has huge respect from his players, and the energy he demanded from them, he got twice [as much]. The difference between the two sides was him being at the helm.
“We did our homework on them, we’d a very good side, but they done us twice in the semi-finals. They gone on to win it as well. But John Caulfield was the manager.
“We got to the semi-finals of that cup and just came across Mr Caulfield! Two great matches, two ding-dongs. We played them down in Cork and in Dublin – two great games but they just pipped us.
“They just had a little bit extra in both games. They just had a little bit of va-va-voom that we didn’t have.
“Really, really well-organised and everyone was signing from his hymnsheet, so if he’s like that with a Munster Senior League selection, what’ll he be like with professional?”
Hand isn’t one bit surprised that Caulfield has managed Cork City to such success at the top level and led them to the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.
There’s little expectation on his side, who finished mid-table in LSL Sunday Senior 1 last season, to produce an upset but Hand is adamant the champions will know they’re in a game.
“If you can get pass the romance of the tie, first of all, we have a lot of really enthusiastic young lads who didn’t make it in League of Ireland or didn’t make it in England.
“The went off doing all their college and working future. They’re great young lads, but just to get a taste of what might have been as footballers, it’ll get their tails up as well.
“It’s just fantastic. The actual tie, who gets into the next round, is miles away from our thoughts at the moment.
“We’re all overwhelmed at the excitement and the buzz it’s causing, even among our coaches. It’s after lifting the club a lot pre-season.”