Saturday 17 March 2018

Glenville relishing 'dream' Rovers test

Palmerstown club take on neighbours in their ‘biggest game’

In 2013 Glenville took on a Limerick side that included Rovers boss Stephen Bradley. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
In 2013 Glenville took on a Limerick side that included Rovers boss Stephen Bradley. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Glenville are no strangers to drawing the big boys in the FAI Cup but coming out of the hat alongside Shamrock Rovers is the tie that the club have always wanted.

Seven years ago, the Palmerstown club hosted Bohs and three years later took on a Limerick side that included Rovers boss Stephen Bradley, who scored a terrific free-kick.

Captain Ciarán McDonnell grew up supporting the Hoops which meant that the welcome he got in Dalymount Park in 2010 wasn't quite as warm as the one that may lie ahead in Tallaght Stadium (8.0) this evening.

"I mentioned that I was Rovers fan and I was taking a throw-in at one stage and there was a bit of heckling coming from behind me which was all great," McDonnell laughed.

"You go to an occasion like that and you don't think anyone knows your name. Someone shouted, 'We read the papers, we know what you're about!' It was good craic.

"For us as a relatively small club, when we got the Bohs draw, we thought that was fantastic.

"But anybody who was watching the draw that day, the one we always wanted was Rovers - the first time was Bohs, the second time we got Limerick but we got them (Rovers) on the third.

"To be away to Rovers on a Friday night is absolutely fantastic. It's an absolute dream."

It is 20 years since Glenville FC was founded and everyone within in the club is only too happy to have a tie like this to celebrate.

The club is steeped in Rovers supporters, from the players to the board members and although the Leinster Senior League who are only in week four of their pre-season, face a mammoth task, it is one that they are relishing.

"It probably is the biggest game in the club's history," manager Wayne Kelly enthused.

"To get into the draw with 32 teams and to coincide with the 20-year anniversary of the club's existence, it's a bit canny.

"I was on a flight home from Lanzarote when I was watching the draw live on the Facebook page and the icon started spinning on my phone when I saw Rovers coming out and the last thing I saw was Glenville being drawn and then the phone went dead.

"I was saying, 'I don't know, I think that was us'. The guy who was with me with his family, we go away every year with the two families, he was saying he'd just seen the end of it and we got Rovers so I was delighted. It was the best draw we could have got.

"It's always very difficult for us to attract players to the club. Since I got in five years ago we managed to get players in every year but it's very difficult because we have the likes of Cherry Orchard, Dublin Bus, Crumlin, Bluebell all on our doorstep.

"But a game like this highlights the club even on social media, it just puts us on the map and people know who we are and what we're about and it's a great benefit for attracting players."

For Glenville, this evening's clash marks a huge moment in the club's short history but for Rovers, it is all about avoiding one of the biggest upsets in their illustrious history.

The Hoops may not guarantee themselves European football via the league so the cup affords them an ideal chance to get back to where they feel they belong next season.

"It's a no-win for us but that doesn't matter," Bradley maintained.

"We've got to go and win the game and everyone says, 'Yeah, you were supposed to win the game'.

"We've got to show up and make sure we're ready to go whether it's Cork or whoever. That's hard to get into the players' heads because they feel the build-up to the games but we've got to understand what's at the end of this, where it brings you."

Irish Independent

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