It’s fairly unprecedented that a football team prepares to meet their rivals in a Cup Final by hammering said rivals.
That’s exactly what Raheny United have done, though. Their 9-2 win over Castlebar Celtic two weeks ago will stand either as a marker of their dominance, or a freak result after this weekend’s Women’s FAI Cup final.
United know they still must be wary, though. In a season where they have yet to even come close to losing a match, Celtic gave them their sternest test to date in the first half of their league match before capitulating in the second half and conceding six goals.
“It was a strange game,” Raheny manager Terry Eviston said. “They looked half decent in the first half, but the second half was just one-way traffic”.
“In the end it wasn’t much good to anybody really,” Eviston admits.
That his team won so convincingly presents Eviston with a new problem. How do you prepare a team properly without them getting over-confident after such a win?
“It’s a hard one to call when you beat a team like that,” he says.
“We’re focused on the final. There’s huge competition for places, we’ve a fantastic squad. I’ll have a very difficult task when it comes to team selection because naturally enough people want to get in that first XI.”
With the league giving Raheny very little challenge so far, motivation could be a more general issue - something Eviston says he knows all about.
“[Motivation] is something I have to keep reminding them every day we go out,” he said.
“The plus side for me is that I don’t know the teams in the league so I’m going in fresh every game. Whether we beat them last year or not makes no difference to me. It’s a blank canvas for me every day we go out. It’s a difficult job but it’s something I’m very much aware of.”