High-flying Donabate will have to re-double efforts in 2014
Published 29/10/2013 | 10:00
AFL 2-winning coach Adrian Henchy believes that St Pat's Donabate must be prepared to make further sacrifices if they are continue their phenomenal success.
Donabate have gone from AFL 4 to the top flight in the space of just four seasons, but the former Na Fianna man believes 2014 will see them have to intensify their efforts.
He also believes it will be very much a learning curve for his squad as they take on the big guns.
'It's really learning as you go along and I'm sure our lads are going to find out, and no matter how much gym work and how much training you do it still doesn't prepare you for the level of player you are going to come up against.'
Nonetheless, Henchy is giving his charges a long-earned rest after what has been a hectic last few years.
'I've given the lads a month off, although a month is nothing. This is the first time the lads have had a break in four years as they have been in the play-offs non-stop for the last four years with the exception of this season. So ideally the lads need a break of six to eight weeks off.'
Pat's have been unbeaten since April, but it was their game against St Finian's that was to prove a crucial watershed, according to Henchy.
'We were down to play them on the Wednesday in what was our third week of the season and in the weekend before that game a few of them had engaged in drinking. We have strict rules that seven days before a game no drink was allowed, but that rule was broken.
'We went up 1-3 to no-score up. We were all over them and we ended up losing the game 0-11 to 1-7.
'Not taking anything away from Finian's, it was a lesson to our lads that if you drink heavily even five or six days before a game than you are going to be fatigued, dehydrated.'
Prior to their all-important clash with Ballinteer St Johns which was to ultimately decide the destination of the Division 2 title, Henchy invited Ballymun Kickhams manager Paul Curran to address the panel in Westmanstown.
And the former Dublin All Star defender re-iterated Henchy's position towards the overuse of alcohol before games.
'Basically he said if you serious about making it in Division 1 football than alcohol is not in your life, and if any of the Ballymun players engaged in drinking he wouldn't take them seriously.
'My understanding is that in off season or when there was a break in the season they could engage in social activity, but I think in terms of when matches are on it's just not tolerated.'
Pat's were presented with the league trophy the weekend before last when they took on Templeogue Synge Street in their final game of the season.
The visitors, who are chasing a promotion spot, won out on a 4-15 to 2-10 scoreline, and according to Henchy the result was a good pointer to the type of opposition Donabate will face next season.
'Templeogue Synge street were beaten comprehensively by Parnells in the championship and that gave our lads another insight.
'While the step from three to two is big, the step from two to one is huge. Even in Division 1 there is a gap emerging.'