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Friday 31 October 2014

'We're under no illusions, so we are going to have to play really well to win' says Culloty

TIMMY SHEEHAN

Published 23/01/2013 | 13:58

The Tralee Imperials squad gathers at their press night in Mounthawk Gym ahead of their National Cup Final this weekend Photo: Paul Tearle

IMPERIALS Team Coach Liam Culloty has been satisified with side's preparations for the Cup Final.

"Preparations have gone very well so far," he revealed.

"We are happy with where we are and we are certainly looking forward to next weekend. We have played well in the League and have had, some good victories, including one against Drimnagh, but they have now a completely new squad with more experienced players and it's going to be one hell of a challenge."

Culloty did admit that Imperials have a stronger squad at their disposal than they did at this time last year.

"This season we have added well," he confirmed.

"We brought up a few of the younger players, Laura Rogers, Claire Brennan and Amy Fitzgerald. We have also added Lynn Jones from Killarney who has been very good, experience wise. She rallies the troops very well. Last year was an experience we had to go through at the time. Having to play three finals in one day was a crazy ask and we do feel aggrieved.

"Looking at the opposition, the players they brought back are very physical inside players and that's an area where they might target us, but we might be a little bit quicker, and hopefully that might be a factor. We seem to be coping well, with the favourites tag a little bit better. Were going in confident, but we're under no illusions, so we are going to have to play really well to win."

Emma Sherwood shared her coach's optimism.

"The year so far is going very well for us," she said.

"Last year was particularly disappointing. Hopefully, this time, we won't be taken over, as much by the occasion. The hunger is certainly still there and hopefully the experience will stand to us."

New recruit Lynn Jones knows what to expect, or not to expect, on final day.

"The Cup is on the day," she noted.

"Anybody is capable of winning. It's one chance and the team which rises to the occasion will win. To beat Drimnagh, given the experienced players who have returned to their squad, we will have to be at the top of our game. I have previous experience of playing, against Drimnagh in the Cup and in the League with St. Paul's, so I know, its going to be very tough next Saturday."

Deirdre Geaney spoke of the disappointment of losing out in last year's final.

"In some ways, the disappointment of losing the three finals last year will stand to us this year. We played Drimnagh earlier on but they were missing a lot of their older and more experienced players. So, we can expect them to put up a big battle against us," she commented.

Deirdre Kearney, meanwhile, echoed the sentiments of her team mates.

"Unfortunately it didn't work out for us last year," she said.

"But hopefully we will have learnt from it. Everybody was determined to get back to a final and make amends. Drimnagh have improved a lot since we played them last. They have three or four new players - players with experience who have played Superleague. They will be strong inside at the post. They might not be as fast, but they are going to be as up for it as us, so it depends on who plays better on the day."

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