Intermediate Cup Final Preview: Firhouse Clover -v- Maynooth University TownFri, May 11 2018
Firhouse currently sit in fifth place in the Leinster Senior League Senior Division, 26 points behind champions elect Bluebell United.
Like their opponents, Clover also call a third level institution home as they play their home games in the Tallaght Institute of Technology.
They received a bye in the First Round and beat Peamount United 6-0 in the second round before advancing into the open draw.
They would go on to see off Cork sides in Castleview and Leeds AFC in the third and fourth round before dispatching of Senior Division rivals Crumlin United in the quarter finals.
Clover then made the long trip to face Letterkenny Rovers in the semis. After a 0-0 draw in Donegal, Firhouse brought Rovers back to Tallaght where they defeated their northern opposition 2-0 thanks to goals from Rory O’Connor and Conor Byrne.
The Firhouse team includes a number of former League of Ireland players. Former Shelbourne and Cabinteely striker Aji Sule, ex- Bray and St Pats midfielder Ryan Coombes as well as former Waterford and Wexford man Peter Higgins are all part of the squad.
Speaking to FAI TV, manager Keith Baker was questioned on whether or not he thought his side were the favourites for Saturday’s clash as well as if they had gotten the chance to see their opposition play;
“It’s an Intermediate Cup Final, it's not going to be easy. We've watched them a couple of times they're very good, young and fit.
“They play football the right way so it's never going to be easy. Of course, people are going to say because we're in the Senior Sunday that we're favourites but we're not going to be looking at it like that at all.
“We got a chance to go down and see them in the match against Everton in the FAI Senior Cup first round, that’s the only time we've got to see them properly.
“We've obviously had a couple of lads who have gone down to watch them, but it’s been difficult getting down to watch each other.”
Baker went on to speak on the importance of this game for the community surrounding the club:
"It’s massive, you can see it just by the amount of support we've got locally from businesses and ticket sales.
“We should be bringing a great crowd, about seven or eight hundred with us, so its massive for the area and you can see now with the amount of buntings and flags that’s around the local area it’s great for them too."
MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY TOWN
Based out of the University Campus, Maynooth find themselves in sixth place in the Leinster Senior League Sunday 1A, with games in hand over the teams above them.
Maynooth began their journey in the first-round defeating Hartstown Huntstown and later Mullingar Athletic in the opening rounds.
Like Firhouse they would see off Cork opposition in Rockmount and Blarney United in the third and fourth rounds respectively.
They then beat another University team in UCD after a replay before booking their place in the final with a 2-1 victory over Dublin Bus.
Maynooth are captained by Kildare native Jake Corrigan, a Collingwood Cup winner in 2014 with the University who was on the books of St Patrick’s Athletic and Drogheda United as a youngster.
Former St Pats, Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers defender Barry Prenderville is the man at the helm for Maynooth, he also spoke to FAI TV ahead of the game about their preparations.
"Our preparations been great, we've obviously had a lot of games recently, we're still in the hunt for promotion in the Senior A1, so a lot of games have come over a short period of time, but I suppose we're hoping that the lads will be really fit coming into the final next week."
Prenderville also spoke about the relationship between the University and the Town, stating;
"The partnership has been going three or four years, but it’s taken Maynooth Town soccer onto a new level.
“Obviously we have guys who have League of Ireland experience, whether its first team or Under-19 experience and it improves the quality of the playing staff we have so that’s probably enabled us to reach the level we’re at.
“We also have players who have been brought through Maynooth Town's system as well, so it’s a mixture of local guys from North Kildare and West Dublin and then we have a lot of students and players on scholarships, so I suppose with the mix of all that we’ve got some good quality players.
“It’s massive, in a short period of time we've got ourselves into a position to hopefully be successful this Saturday, but it would be massive for the University, for the Town and the football club.
“We were looking at the cup earlier on and the names of the teams who have won this competition you know the Crumlin's, the Avondale's, so to be in that sort of company is fantastic for the club.
“We're really looking forward to it, we're looking to hopefully take this opportunity.”
Referee: Owen Murphy.
This is the first appearance in the final for both clubs.
This is also the first time a Kildare side has made the final of any national competition.
This is the first time that these sides will meet in a competitive fixture.
Firhouse’s last five games: WDWDL
Maynooth’s last five games: LWWDW
Firhouse Win 4/9; Draw 11/4; Maynooth Win 9/2.
Firhouse Clover 2-1 Maynooth University Town