Sheriff YC manager Alan Reilly says his players are relishing the challenge of next month’s FAI Cup clash between Ireland’s most successful junior and senior clubs.#
The Fairview side and Shamrock Rovers, who share the same strip of green and white hoops, will meet in an all-Dublin FAI Ford Cup second round encounter to be played on the weekend ending June 8.
While hopeful of his team’s chances, Reilly admits they will be facing their biggest test of the season against one of the best teams in the country.
“I think we’ve got the hardest draw of the round and I really wish we could have got an easier game,” said Reilly.
“Shamrock Rovers are a huge team with top-level players like Stephen McPhail who has Champions League and international experience, and it’s going to be a big ask for us.”
Sheriff YC, established in 1971, received a bye to this year’s second round, and made it as far as the third round last season.
They knocked out Kildare’s Leixlip United and Cork’s Avondale United before exiting 3-1 to the Hoops at Tallaght Stadium.
The club’s best FAI Cup performance came in 2011 when they reached the fourth round before conceding the tie to Shelbourne.
But in order to make that stage this season, they will have to overcome the 24-time FAI Cup winners at Fairview Park.
“We are definitely looking forward to it and will embrace the occasion,” said Reilly.
“We gave a good account of ourselves and were a bit unlucky in the 3-1 defeat to them in the cup last year.
“But on the day, you just never know what can happen.”
The North Dublin side are currently top of the AUL Premier A and are unbeaten in 15 league matches to date, winning 13.
Reilly’s team are widely regarded as the best junior club in Ireland having won an unprecedented five trophies last year.
Although last year could not have gone any better for Sheriff as they completed a clean sweep in junior football, Reilly says his players must move on.
“Last season’s achievements were monumental and magnificent for the club,” he said.
“But we can’t dwell on it; it’s about moving forward rather than looking back.
“Even-though we got knocked out in the FAI Junior Cup semi-finals against St Michael’s, we still have got a lot to play for and, hopefully, we can achieve some more success this season.”