By Bill George
THE vastly experienced Mick Scully will provide Cup specialists Bluebell United with strong leadership when they play Rockmount in the Carlsberg FAI Intermediate Cup final at Richmond Park on Sunday (3pm).
Scully, whose last club in the eircom National League was Monaghan United, will be at centre-back as Bluebell chase their sixth win in the competition and their first since 2000.
Coincidentally, that last success was at the expense of another Cork team, St. Mary’s.
That experience has left the Dubliners ever more cautious as they prepare for the visit of Rockmount.
"We know that any team coming out of Cork is going to give us a huge contest" said Bluebell chairman, Tony O’Brien, "they will be competitive and hard-working and we are gearing ourselves for a mighty contest."
Rockmount previously won the Intermediate Cup in 1999, when they beat Garda 2-0 in the final at Turner’s Cross, but they lost the final last season to Belgrove in a replay.
Since then their team has undergone many changes.
Their newcomers include goalkeeper Derek Slattery, who played in the National League with Cobh Ramblers, and Ross O’Callaghan in midfield,
Rockmount have battled through eight Cup matches to get to the final and it is a tribute to their organisation and good form that they conceded only one goal along the way.
Rockmount operate a 3-5-2 formation, with the long-serving Alan Martin, Pat Oldham and Ciaran O’Mahony providing a solid base at the back.
Philip Cunningham was a member of last season’s disappointed Rockmount and he said: "We should have won the final in Cork when we were the better team but Belgrove were better in Dublin and deserved to win it.
"I still think we left it behind us and now we need to put things right."
Bluebell, based on Dublin’s southside, have grown from small beginnings in 1946 to the point where they now have a club with 400 members.
Manager Paul Fagin played in England and the USA as a goalkeeper before injury finished his playing career. He strengthened their team this season by recruiting three Smith brothers, Ken, Kevin and Stewart, from Dublin Bus.
"Dublin Bus were relegated last season so we were able to recruit the Smith brothers," pointed out Tony O’Brien. "We want our sixth title to confirm the club’s standing as specialists in this competition but we have great respect for Rockmount."
Rockmount will be hoping that some of their injured players will report fit for the game but they have doubts about Kieran O’Shea, Darren Doyle and Philip Cunningham.
They will look to Rory Beechinor to provide the penetration they will need up front and his contest with Mick Scully could be the decisive factor.
"Winning is everything to us" he said, "you’d be better off losing in the first round rather than the final because I know from last year it counts for nothing if you get to the final and lose."