Kieran Donaghy is close to a league-cup double with the Tralee Warriors but another veteran, Colin O’Reilly, stands in his way again.
The eptune player-manager may not have been able to halt the Kerrymen’s march to cup final victory last January but remains undeterred by the defeat.
“I don’t think it’s going to change the way we think at all,” O’Reilly said of the decider loss.
“We’re a lot further down than we were in the cup final and so is Tralee but we’re happy where we are, both physically and mentally.”
“We got to the last game of the season and we would have bitten off your hand to get that far at the start of the season,” he added.
The 38-year-old knows what to expect from a Tralee side who can boast the American firepower of Aaron Calixte and the experience of Ireland international Eoin Quigley.
However, it’s the 39-year-old former Kingdoms footballer who is drawing attention beyond basketball circles even as he flies under the radar on the stat sheet.
However, it did not go unnoticed when Donaghy and Neptune captain Roy Downey were fouled after being separated in January’s heated playoff.
“(Donaghy) He’s probably not one of those guys who isn’t easy to spot, which is similar to some of their other players,” notes O’Reilly.
“He’s not one of their top scorers, he’s a different threat. He’s a threat you have to play against just to get a feel for what you’re actually playing against.”
O’Reilly, in his freshman year at the helm of Neptune, gets a better feel on the pitch as a player-coach than most coaches.
In 2016 he held the same role for other clubs and the national team and believes the dual approach benefits his decision-making.
“I train with the guys so I can feel the physicality of the training. I feel the intensity, the speed, and who’s doing what and who needs more,” says the Corkman.
“And as for the game direction? My role (as a player) has evolved over the years from being a main player to a role player playing extra passes and trying to deflect shots.
“So I just go in with a plan and make adjustments. You’re working around on a game model and I’m not going to try anything over a weekend that we haven’t worked on before and repeated multiple times.”
O’Reilly has helped Ireland’s oldest club return to competition in a renaissance for Neptune after being forced to withdraw from the Super League in 2015.
Downey and rising star Cian Heaphy were recently called up to the Ireland squad, ending the Cork side’s long absence at national level.
A record 12th division win would turn the tide in fortunes but they have to do it first.
Meanwhile, Brunell’s bid for Women’s Champions Trophy glory in the final against three-time chasers Glanmire was dealt a blow as Ireland international Edel Thornton was injured earlier this week.
Men’s U-20 National League Plate Finals: Sligo All-Stars v Templeogue, 10.0
Women’s Division 1 League Cup Final: NUIG Mystics v Ulster University, 12.0
Men’s Division 1 Final: EJ Sligo All-Stars vs. Demons, 2.0.
Women’s Champions Trophy Final: Glanmire v Brunell, 4.30pm
Men’s Super League Final: Tralee Warriors v Neptune, 7.0.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/cup-final-loss-wont-change-us-neptune-player-coach-colin-oreilly-aims-to-halt-tralee-warriors-double-41512851.html ‘Losing the cup final won’t change us’ – Neptune player-manager Colin O’Reilly wants to stop the Tralee Warriors double