‘We’re ready to step up’ – Captain Conroy

Castlerea captain Michael Conroy has been a linchpin in midfield for the club this season. Pic: Bernie O’Farrell

The Castlerea team this year is captained by Michael Conroy, for whom – like a lot of the players in the squad – this is a first major final.

“This is our first time in a final in a while and we are looking forward to it. We have a mostly young squad. There is a great buzz around the place and we have prepared very well” Michael said in the build-up to the final.

The Castlerea captain believes that the tight game they had against Pearses in the semi-final (it went to extra-time) will stand to them in the long run.

“We left it late… but we got the job done, and hopefully we can bring that spirit into the final now. It will be another tight game – but hopefully we can come out on top again”.

The Castlerea defence has played very well this year, conceding very little, but Michael says that they will have to find a good overall balance in the final.

“We have done well in defence and against Pearses we dug deep and got the scores we needed. We have a very fit young squad so we were able to keep going until the very end”.

Michael says that the players are ready to take the step up this year. “We have been in quarter-finals and semi-finals in the past and when we got promoted in the league this year our aim was to win the championship. We have taken every game as it comes and it has worked out well so far”.

He accepts that there is some pressure on the players because of the storied history of the club and the marvellous players who have played there in the past.

“I suppose there is some pressure on the players in Castlerea. It’s a big town and the club has a great history, but hopefully we can embrace it and take it as it comes on the big day”.

And Sunday’s final? “We know Éire Óg inside out and they know us. We have met so many times in the championship in recent years. They are a very strong team with good footballers. This match can go either way but hopefully it will go to Castlerea” he concluded.