Drawing the reigning League and Cup champions Cork City is a tough enough, but coming up against a team managed by John Caufield makes things even harder suggests Home Farm manager John Hand.
Hand has experience coming up against the Cork City boss as he was part of the Tolka Rovers coaching staff that lost two FAI Intermediate Cup games to an Avondale side then managed by Caulfield.
Hand is honest enough to admit he thinks the now Cork boss then Munster Senior League manager was ultimately the difference between two talented squads.
Speaking to the Dublin Gazette not long after his LSL Senior 1 Sunday side drew City in the FAI Senior Cup first round, Hand explained,
“I was part of the Tolka Rovers management team that went down to play John Caulfield’s Avondale. So I know exactly how organised [his teams are].
“He has huge respect from his players, and the energy he demanded from them, he got twice [as much]. The difference between the two sides was him being at the helm.
“We did our homework on them, we’d a very good side, but they done us twice in the semi-finals. They gone on to win it as well. But John Caulfield was the manager.
“We got to the semi-finals of that cup and just came across Mr Caulfield! Two great matches, two ding-dongs. We played them down in Cork and in Dublin – two great games but they just pipped us.
“They just had a little bit extra in both games. They just had a little bit of va-va-voom that we didn’t have.
“Really, really well-organised and everyone was signing from his hymnsheet, so if he’s like that with a Munster Senior League selection, what’ll he be like with professional?”
While facing Cork is a daunting prospect Hand admits there is genuine excitement surrounding the massive cup tie.
Hand he hasn’t any thoughts with regard to progressing to the second round just yet. Instead he is just enjoying the prospect of the challenge facing his talented young squad and the lift the draw has brought to pre season training.
“If you can get pass the romance of the tie, first of all, we have a lot of really enthusiastic young lads who didn’t make it in League of Ireland or didn’t make it in England.
“The went off doing all their college and working future. They’re great young lads, but just to get a taste of what might have been as footballers, it’ll get their tails up as well.
“It’s just fantastic. The actual tie, who gets into the next round, is miles away from our thoughts at the moment.
“We’re all overwhelmed at the excitement and the buzz it’s causing, even among our coaches. It’s after lifting the club a lot pre-season.”