Leinster Club IFC Analysis: Plenty of room for improvement for Dunshaughlin ahead of final
APART from getting beaten probably the worst scenario for any manager in a semi-final is that their team produces a master class and 'shoots out the lights' on their way to victory.
Many a team has been lulled into a false sense of security ahead of a final by their resplendent display in the previous encounter. It has led to many a downfall for teams at every level, leaving them 'sitting ducks' on the big occasion.
Well Dunshaughlin manager Richie Kealy will have no such worries as preparations intensity for the forthcoming Leinster Club IFC final against Wexford champions Fethard St Mogues.
His side comfortably overcame the challenge of the Cooley peninsula outfit to book their place in the decider, though the overall performance left plenty of room for improvement.
It was something the manager was keen to stress afterwards as he reflected on his team's success.
"That performance there today wouldn't be good enough in a final or to get us to where we want to be," Kealy said as he expressed his delight at the win and a place in the final.
"We knew it was going to be a big battle and that is what it proved. Maybe we should have had a bigger lead at half-time, we definitely have a lot to work on for the next day, that's for sure.
"We will work on it over the next couple of weeks. Again it came down to the opposition, they really put it up to us, they set up really well, and they started Brian White, a top class player, and we had to change things around a little bit," Kealy continued.
Most of the plaudits in what has been an exceptional year so far has gone to the Dunshaughlin attack, and rightly so as they are a joy to watch when in full flow. Their ability to create space and engineer scores is exceptional and there were fleeting glimpses of that against Cooley as all six forwards brought a different array of talents to the stage.
Spare a thought though for the 'unsung heroes' the Dunshaughlin defence who to a man have been magnificent throughout the county and now provincial campaign.
The sight of inspirational captain Niall Murphy, Alastar Doyle and company applying the squeeze on the Cooley attack was an early indication that it was going to be Dunshaughlin's day.
Their positional sense, tackling and collective work ethic ensured that it was going to be a tough day for a Cooley forward. The statistics borne that out, just two points conceded from play for the hour, with Michael Rafferty the only forward to score from play.
Kealy expressed his satisfaction with the way his defence carried out its duties but yearned for a more clinical display further afield.
"We created a few goal chances but we need to be finishing them, especially this time of the year. Again it was down to Cooley defending well, they fought for every ball right to the end and it wasn't easy for our lads out there. We still didn't find it easy to pull away from them," he said.
"There were a few opportunities that dropped short as well, it is never nice to be making a hero out of the goalie, but on the positive side we are creating the chances.
"It was scrappy in the last quarter, we didn't value the ball when we had possession at times. We always felt we were never out of reach especially if Cooley got in for a goal and it was game on again.
"The next game is in December so to be still playing at that time of year is great, it beats training and it is a great opportunity for us in two weeks time."