RINGMAHON RANGERS youth team hope to continue their excellent form this weekend when they take on Villa of Waterford in the FAI Youths Cup in Mayfield.
Johnny Delaney's side have been in tremendous form all season and with plenty of silverware to be won, his side will be concentrating on game by game starting with Saturday's semi final, one in which he hopes to make it to his first cup final as manager.
“It’s a huge occasion for everyone involved at the club and we all hope the lads can continue their great form and make it to the final,” said Delaney.
Delaney, who was a stalwart with the club as a player has been involved with the current youth side for the past four years and his knowledge and experience has been key to the current squad.
“Although I played my underage football with Avondale I joined Ringmahon at senior level and played with the club for 20 years so the red and black is truly in my blood now.
"Like all managers and coaches, our aim is to try to pass on as much knowledge and experience as we can.
"And at Ringmahon, that’s certainly the case. I have a brilliant backroom staff of Conor Crowley, Jim McGinty, Adam O’Keeffe and Stephen O’Sullivan.
"We all have the same focus and that is to try and develop every individual as players and people.”
Saturday's semi final against Villa will be the first of two meetings between the sides as they both will meet again when they will compete in the Munster Youths cup semi final.
While not knowing too much against his opposition, Delaney said he prefers to concentrate on his own side.
“Obviously, at this stage of the competition you expect all sides to be of a good standard.
"We don’t know too much about Villa apart from them being a very organised team but that’s how I always approach games to be honest.
"We concentrate on our own game plan and that hasn’t put us too wrong so far this season. In fact we lost our first game of the season but have gone unbeaten since.
“The lads are an exceptional bunch with a great bond between them. They have had some superb wins en-route to the semi most notably the game against Wexford Albion when our captain Adam Delurey scored a free kick in the last kick of the game in the last eight of the FAI youths Cup.
"Moments like this have given the squad huge confidence.
“Our squad is made up of mainly local lads added with a few extra who have been a huge asset to the squad.
"Our top goal scorer Paddy Cronin hails from Bantry while Jack Dennehy is from Donoughmore. I haven't seen a squad quite like them in years. Great talent in every position on the field.
“With the hard work the lads have put in over the years, they genuinely deserve success.
"I took over from Chris O’Sullivan who did a fantastic job with these lads.”
Joint top of the league, two cup semi finals, and one quarter cup final, there is plenty of silverware to be won for Delaney's side, but he knows nothing is guaranteed and there is still plenty of work to be done.
“We are in a fantastic position no doubt. With four trophies to be won, it has given the lads a huge incentive but we all know nothing is handed to you in life.
"The lads know how much work it has taken to get this far and they know the hard work isn’t done yet.
"We have tough tests ahead but I am confident if the lads can continue to produce performances like they have been doing, then we can bring silverware home to the club.
“It would mean a lot to the club to bring silverware home and it would mean a lot to our lads after the huge effort they and their parents have put in the last few years.
"We had six lads on the Cork youth team this year and they did us all proud bringing the trophy home to Cork.
"These lads have a huge future in football and I'm sure we will see a lot of them play league of Ireland and play senior with Ringmahon over the coming years but for now our focus is on winning silverware for this youths side and create memories for the lads that will last a lifetime.”