ROUND Tower senior football manager Caimin Keane says that their opening game of the AFL2 season has helped focus the minds as they are set to face promotion favourites Lucan Sarsfields.
The 12th Lock club endured a tough 2013, ending 15th in AFL1, but – having reached the 2011 SFC semi-final – would be regarded as a well-heeled side whose aspirations would be to return as quick as possible to the top tier.
In recent years, giants like St Brigid’s and Kilmacud Crokes have dropped down to Division 2 only to return rejuvenated and Keane is wary that his Round Tower side could be facing some manifestation of that situation when they meet on February 16 on day one of the league.
“It’s a very interesting, exciting draw for us,” he told GazetteSport. “It was maybe the one everyone was hoping to avoid, meeting a relegated first division team first.
“It definitely has helped us as it gets everyone focused in. We will be the underdogs but it does bring a real buzz to training, knowing that we have to take Lucan on in the first match.”
Keane has been working with a 30-player training squad to date with six of last year’s minors adding an extra youthful zest to proceedings.
He feels it has refreshed a panel that struggled last year after a good showing in 2012 that saw the Clondalkin club move to the brink of promotion, something that has seen his side reassess their methods.
“Last year really brought us back down to earth having been pretty successful the previous year, ending in the top playoff position and missed out on promotion by a couple of points in the end.
“Last year, we were hoping to achieve the same thing but were maybe focusing too much on that objective and getting back to that position.
“We were really humbled then and were pretty poor in 2013.
“So we’re going back to taking things match by match and, in fact, the Lucan draw kind of helps that. We can’t think beyond it and are not taking anything for granted.
“Training has been really positive and it has been great to have the young lads at training; they have a great attitude and have been coached really well.”