Clancy glad to get over first hurdle this time
SSE Airtricity League play-offs
It was somewhat surprising, but also understandable that the overriding emotion from Drogheda United manager after their fantastic 5-1 win at home to Cabinteely on Friday night was 'relief'.
Drogheda United fell at this hurdle last season, losing to the eventually promoted side Finn Harps, but Friday's win was so emphatic that Drogheda will have taken huge confidence from it.
The Drogheda manager described their win as 'a little bit of progress,' and took a pragmatic view when reflecting on the game.
'We finished second in the table last season and obviously were beaten by Finn Harps in the play-offs, so we wanted to go further this year,' he began.
'I thought in the first-half we missed a few chances, it was a bit similar to last week and we might not have gotten rewarded but after they scored we reacted really well. Luke [McNally] got two big goals and Chrissy [Lyons] scored a cracker and Jamie put the icing on the performance.'
'But 5-1 is a little bit flattering I think, Luca pulled off some fantastic saves in the second-half and he was unlucky for the goal in fact, he pulled off a really good save and we just didn't react quick enough, we have to try and get rid of those mistakes,' he began.
Drogheda's only concession in the game came from a set-piece and with Harps manager Ollie Horgan in the stand it will be something which the Donegal man has noted.
But the manager had a lot of praise for his side, in particular their start when they were getting great purchase down the left wing and Cabinteely didn't appear to react.
'Doyler Connor, Chris in that pocket, Luke Heeney and Mark Hughes would drift over there, they are all good footballers and I think, as good as they are, when they are playing well they are so hard to play against.'
Both Clancy and Cabinteely manager Pat Devlin were dealt injury blows before the game. For Devlin it was the loss of top striker Robert Manly during the week and for Clancy it was his captain Jake Hyland who was forced out during the warm-up.
'These things happen and it would have been a very upsetting time for Devo, but that's football, we've had our fair share of injuries over the season but it didn't change our preparations it just gave us something else to think about.
'[Jake] was literally in the warm-up, he picked up a knock last week and he's been dipping in and out of training and it was during the warm-up that he said he was still feeling it and I decided not to risk it and maybe have to make a change early in the game and I put Kev [Farragher] back in and he was excellent, so whatever happens on Monday we'll be prepared for,'
At the time of writing the result of Monday's game wasn't known but Clancy felt his team were better placed to take on Finn Harps this season as opposed to last year.
'I think the squad balance is a little better this year, because of a lot of injuries some of our so-called back-up players have stepped up and made themselves regulars, so we are a lot better prepared for Finn Harps. I also think we are a lot fitter this year and there's a lot more mobility, but it's still going to be a tough game,' explained Clancy.
The focus for the Drogheda the manager is clearly on cutting out mistakes, he re-iterated 'We have to try and cut out mistakes and not to give Finn Harps a leg up, if we make the same mistakes as we did against Cabo we'll get punished.'
So far Chris Lyons is the only player signed up for next season and there doesn't look like that will change before Friday with Clancy ruling out any movement on contracts.
'We aren't looking at any of that at the moment our focus is purely on Monday night's game, we aren't even thinking about Friday,' he added.
Drogheda will travel to Finn Park on Friday (1st) with a kick-off time of 7:45pm with extra-time and penalties to be used if required.