Rangers draw Carew Park

by Staff Reporter

YOU could excuse Stephen Doran for walking around Swords with an air of confidence at the moment.
Places in the last 16 of the FAI Junior Cup, the last 32 of the Leinster Junior Cup and sitting at the summit of the AUL Premier B division mean his Rivervalley Rangers side could be in for special season.
The final 32 of Leinster was reached with an impressive, yet dramatic, 2-1 win over Wexford’s North End United last Sunday. Goals from the prolific Daniel Murphy and Ronan Murtagh in the 88th and 93rd minute turned the tie on its head and saw Valley go through where they’ll face league rivals Ashbourne in the next round.
Limerick giants Carew Park await the north Dublin side in the FAI Junior and will travel to the AUL in early February. It’s a hard draw but Doran insists his side hold an advantage due to where rather than who they face.
“It will be tough, no doubt,” he told GazetteSport. “They’re a big name and we’ll probably be about 9/1 just to win on the day.
“We haven’t seen them play but, between then and now, we’ll have done our homework. It’s a tough draw but it’s a home draw and that’s all you can really ask for at this stage of the competition. All the teams remaining are strong so the opposition isn’t too important.
“It’s a competition that holds a bit of magic for us certainly,” added the talented young coach. “Last year we really announced ourselves by reaching this stage of the competition and we want to go at least one further this time around.”
The next round of the competition sees it gain real national coverage with games aired on TV and a whole host of promotional events for remaining teams.
Doran was asked if he was worried his players may be thinking about the limelight before it is even bestowed upon them.
“Firstly, I think last year we were a bit naive in some of our performances,” he replied. “This year, we’ve become a bit more streetwise and savvy on the pitch.
“I don’t think the spectacle the Junior Cup becomes in the next round will be in the lad’s heads and it certainly won’t be on my mind. We’ve been very level-headed this season and long may it continue.”
Promotion to Premier A looks a certainty if they can maintain that level-headedness. The League Cup is also still theirs to conquer but Doran insisted there’s much to do.
“There are probably four or five teams who can with the league which is why I think of it as the toughest in the AUL. The lads have been excellent all season but are fully aware we’re entering the business end now.”

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