St Francis FC’s Leinster Senior Division 1 Sunday side’s manager John Reid was happy to be back on the road this week when it was announced that his side were drawn to face Letterkenny Rovers FC away in the third round of the FAI Intermediate Cup competition on December 1.
The John Hyand Park side have done well thus far in the competition, registering a 4-2 away win against Wicklow Rovers in the first round before a trip back a year in time to face former fellow Division 1A opponents, Beggsboro AFC, in the second round, a tie that saw Francis comfortably proceed to the draw with a 4-0 victory.
Talking to Gazette Sport shortly after the draw, Reid was happy to be facing into the third phase of the national competition, and the drive up to Donegal at the start of December.
“It’s a nice little run, isn’t it? I don’t know a lot about this team, and we haven’t played them before at any stage. I do know that they are going well in the Ulster Senior League, I think they are third in that league behind Cockhill Celtic and Drumkeen United.
“[Being involved in the cup] is all a learning experience, and a great boost considering that we were knocked out in the first round of the cup the last two years.”
Those two cup outings so far have been a learning experience for Francis, and Reid is conscious of the way his side have matured as they have come up through the leagues in recent years to reach the higher echelons of the LSL, pointing in particular to their fifth place in the league this year and their match against Beggsboro in the previous round.
“We would have known that side well in the Division 1A last year, and for us to beat them 4-0 at home was a good indication of how we have come on since we progressed up from Division 1A last year. Beggsboro have done well themselves and were unlucky not to come up with us – I think they are top of that table and every indication is that they will be up in Division 1 next year.”
Reid is pleased by the way his side are coming together and the way that they are approaching both the cup and the league campaigns this year.
“There’s a good buzz and atmosphere around the club, there’s no doubt. We are playing well and getting to the levels that we want to reach and that this club deserves to be at. And cup competitions are an added bonus, especially when we are going as well as we are.
“I have been working with this side for the last four or five years, and the players are hitting 23 and 24 years of age, and they are coming into their own. We have a good solid young squad, and the feeling around the place is really positive.”