While most games kick off during the festive period, it has been almost business as usual for the in-form Drogheda Wolves as they count down to a President’s National Cup semi-final in their first year.
He added that the senior men’s team has taken to the ongoing ground after completely eradicating Covid-19, which was due to be their first season at the National League level in 2020/21, and was in the decider on taking on IT Carlo. One place will be at stake. Saturday is coming up in Cork.
Wolves got a first-round bye before hammering the Waterford IT Vikings and then knocking out the Limerick Sport Eagles in their own backyard, and as Gavin Garland’s relegation also made a strong start to the league campaign, much optimism in the air. is – as well as a sense of reality.
Looking ahead to the semi-finals, captain Ciaran McGragan said: “I think, being the new team, we will always be the underdogs, but we were going down Limerick in the final round and controlled the game.
“They scored a good run in the end and scared us but we were calm and composed and kept the ball from getting to their key players, it was a really good professional performance and I think being the underdog suits us “
As far as IT Carlo is concerned, they have already overtaken AB Seals Dublin Lions and McGowans Tolka Rovers in two low-scoring games, showing their defensive prowess, and having lost their lives this season in league and cup. Eight out of nine games have been won. Be an extremely hard nut to crack.
Wolves’ chances will be boosted if they have a full squad to choose from – it remains to be seen whether the game will come too soon for Lucas Walford, Robbie Sullivan and Kevin O’Hallon – yet Drogheda without that trio Men have continued to flourish and Steven Sappho’s return to fitness has been a huge plus.
At all times Wolves are also mindful of the need to keep players fresh for the ongoing league campaign, with McGowans in particular a real six-pointer coming to Drogheda on Saturday week with Tolka Rovers.
“We’re encouraged because we had cases of COVID over Christmas, which means those kids will come back and have immunity (to the virus),” Captain McGragan said.
“It is an exciting time and we are all thinking about what we can achieve now that we have these players back.
“I think with this being the semi-finals and we have a chance to win something in our first year, we have to focus and focus on this game.
“It’s our next game and if we win we will reach the final two weeks later, so after that we can focus entirely on the league.”
Of course, Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc with Wolves’ match and training schedules and by the time they take to court in Cork on Saturday afternoon, they will have been without play for three full weeks.
“We’ve been pretty busy over Christmas,” McGragan said, “but not as busy as we had hoped. We had a COVID outbreak, so the boys were isolated and we had to stop training the whole team and Instead it had to work in pods.
“It’s not the best preparation for the National Cup semi-finals, but better than nothing. What I’m hearing is that every team is in the same boat every minute and I’ve seen the teams go into complete shutdown. heard about.
“I think we could do with all the breaks because we had a lot of players playing a lot of minutes. Ideally we would have had one game last weekend, but it’s impossible to be friends with Covid.”
McGragan himself caught the virus a few weeks ago and, after being put on steroids at one stage during his recovery, has been happy to come out on the other hand fit and well.
“I had three antigen tests which all came back negative, but I had Covid and felt bad. I had a fever three times and tried to come back for the quarterfinal game in Limerick.
“I played maybe 12 minutes in three spells, but when I was running I had to hold my breath and it was a feeling I’d never had before.
“I was double-jaded but didn’t have a booster at the time.”
Saturday’s semi-final has a tip-off time of 3.10 pm at the Parochial Hall in Cork and is an indication of that time, in the event one or both teams are unable to participate due to Covid issues, with no postponement and defeat. Hogi quarter-finalists are on standby to complete the fixture.