CONOR Barry has insisted that his UCD side is not going to Gourmet Food Parlour O’Connor Cup weekend simply to make up the numbers.
Following a quarter-final victory over Queen’s at the Dub on Wednesday evening, UCD have been pitched into a March 10 semi-final against League champions DCU.
It’s a mouth-watering city derby in prospect but Barry is quietly confident that his players are up to the task.
UCD were impressive against Queen’s, scoring four goals en route to a comfortable 17-point win.
And Barry told our reporter Orla Bannon: “Happy enough this evening, we had to do this job and you know yourself, when you’re getting off a bus after two and a half to three hours, it can be hard to focus the mind on the task in order.
“But to fair to the girls, in the first twenty minutes, I was very impressed, especially the way we pressed their kickouts. Our own movement was very, very good.
“I felt we tired in the last ten minutes (of the first half), lost a bit of focus and concentration, but apart from that, in the second half, came back out again.
“Still a couple of silly little mistakes we’re making but we have two and a half weeks to prepare for a semi-final.”
Barry added: “We had a gameplan on our own kickouts and their kickouts.
“For 20 minutes, it worked, but we got caught over-carrying the ball four times in ten minutes.
“That’s not like us and they’re mistakes we can’t afford to make, especially when you get to a semi-final of the O’Connor Cup.”
Barry’s charges were well-drilled and went about their business against Queen’s in clinical fashion.
And he explained: “They know what they have to do, as soon as that ball is kicked, it’s back to position and refocus straight away, and back to the task.
“At any stage, you can have a game taken off you.
“It’s not about focusing on any one, individual game, it’s about keeping a standard high and performance high for what you do.
“If we had conceded two goals this evening, I’d have been very annoyed from the simple view that we didn’t stick to what we were supposed to do in that case.”
And looking ahead to the DCU clash, Barry reflected: “Played them earlier in the League, they ran out six or seven points on us.
“We’ve a lot of work to do but it’s a very determined group, it’s a young team which is great to work with because they’re keen and eager to learn, and a couple of old heads in there that are very good from a leadership point of view.
“Very happy to be in a semi-final but we’re not there to just contest it – we’d like to make a proper stab at it.”
Martha Byrne was a key player for UCD on Wednesday night, as Dublin’s 2017 TG4 All-Ireland club winner led by example in an impressive overall team display.
And Barry sad: “We’ve one Dublin All-Ireland winner with us – Tarah (O’Sullivan) and Julia (Buckley) would have been on the panel knocking around the training camps but it’s one, with Martha.
“It’s a building process with what we have and what we’re there with. We’re hopeful that what we have is good enough to get us to an O’Connor Cup final and possibly further.
“It’s inter-city, northside/southside rivalries (against DCU).
“We’ll put that aside – it will be about a performance and trying to get into an O’Connor Cup final.”
And Barry will continue to adopt a common-sense approach with the use of his players ahead of the Gourmet Food Parlour O’Connor Cup weekend, with ongoing inter-county commitments also taken into account.
He said: “To be fair to them, we’ve been good in that if a team is playing on a Saturday or Sunday, it’s a case of rest them on a Monday or Tuesday and they come back in the latter half of the week for us. So far, we’ve been lucky enough with injuries.
“This weekend, and the following two weekends, you’re keeping your fingers crossed that nothing actually happens that’s going to worry you too much. It’s in the lap of Gods – it’s not in our control.”