Our build-up to the Shamrock Bowl Conference Wildcard Playoff games is in full swing. On Tuesday we brought you UCD's Head Coach, Eoin Cunningham's thoughts. Yesterday it was the turn of the Dublin Rebels' Gary Sommerville. Today we head back to the SBC South match-up as Double Coverage (DC) caught up with University of Limerick Vikings' defensive end, Adrian Garvey (AG):
|Garvey under centre for the Vikings in last year's Shamrock Bowl - photo by Nathan James Sharrocks|
DC: Hi Adrian, thanks for agreeing to do this. First question, the UL Vikings saw quite a few retirements following the end of last season, what has the team done to settle down following this?
AG: We had a shaky start to the season no doubt and with the losses its very hard to be the exact same team especailly with alll the new faces. I guess we had to find a new identity within the club and encourage some of our fringe players to step up within the team and become the new leaders
As the season progressed we could see these players progressing and coming into their own, reaching their potential as players and teammates
DC: Was that in itself a difficult process with the upheaval in the SBC South? With DCU and then Cork pulling out of the division, and then UCD failing to put together a team for your game with them, it must have been hard to keep your team interested?
AG: The season has been a bit of a disaster after DCU and Cork we unable to meet the requirements for the season and its a pity to see both teams go especially Cork as there were our local rivals. With the remaining fixtures being rescheduled the way that they were we got to know Trinity and UCD very well. It was a shame UCD were unable to finish our season finale due to injuries and I hope the all recover well to put on a good show this weekend for the wildcard playoff game. But keeping players interested has been a difficult process and it has been a steller effort from our board and coaching staff to keep our young team together but those who truely love the game and the team will always find a way to stay involved
DC: As you mention you've seen UCD a couple of times this year and got to know them well. You've already beaten them twice but both were relatively close, especially the season opener. What are you doing to prepare for this game?
AG: The games have been close and very enjoyable to play. As with most college teams the problem is that the student element of our team have disbanded and gone home for the summer. But the effort a lot of the guys are making to travel down on weekends and even on weekdays to train really does lift spirits and I feel as a result of this our best football has yet to come this season.
DC: A match against the Belfast Trojans awaits the winner. Do any of your guys who were around last year already have one eye on that game and a shot at revenge for the Shamrock Bowl defeat?
AG: We are focused on getting ready for the game against UCD currently. Having said that I cant speak for the others but I personally cant wait to get another crack at the Trojans, even if i am on the other side of the ball this season. They have emerged as the power house of football in Ireland and have the greatest of respect for the work and commitment for the entire club.
DC: What were the teams' aims at the start of the year and have they changed now considering the position you are in?
AG: We knew at the start of the season we were not going to be as dominant on the field as we were in previous seasons. The aim really was to improve the players we had and get as much new blood into the team as we could. That didn't always go to plan but those players that make up the new Vikings do out team proud. Considering our defence only has one people returning in their starting position we have done very well this season. But our team will continue to evolve and try and find that perfect formula to be the best team on and off the field, so the aim will always stay the same for us as im sure it is for every other team to be able to take the field every Sunday and compete
DC: Who will be leading the Vikings this coming Sunday? Who will be the players that the rest of the team looks to lead them during the game?
AG: Marc Ashworth has always been the guy on offence since he started playing QB. he is a great leader without saying much he gets it done whatever way he can. On the other side of the ball Darragh O Callaghan has always had the respect of the players around him. He has been on this team a while now and when he talks people listen. It will be interesting to see how this batch of Vikings deals going into its first wildcard game in some time but on the upside if we do win it will give us one more game to prepare and fine tune our gameplan for the games ahead
DC: With a lot more rookies and young players do you think the Vikings will see their best years to come or are they ready to win it all right now?
AG: No one knows how its going to go down. we try our best to do the best with what we have but no team can say we did everything we planned to during a game. Every team is bound to make a mistake or two at some stage and its up to us to take advantage of what we have and what we see in front of us.
DC: Final question, who do you see to be the key match ups in your game with UCD?
AG: I think it will be a battle of the gunslingers. In our previous games both teams have gone to the air for the majority of games to try and get the score. It will be interesting to see how it pans out in reality but i foresee a lot of passing and hopefully a lot of picks for us