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Harte realistic about Bohs tie but it's not a day out for Maynooth

Wed, Sep 15 2021
Maynooth University Town manager Shane Harte

Maynooth University Town manager Shane Harte Credit: Dolf Hartog (ETPhotos)

It’s David versus Goliath on Friday night as Premier Division side Bohemians welcome Maynooth University Town to Dalymount Park for the quarter-final of the Extra.ie FAI Cup.

Maynooth manager Shane Harte is realistic about his side’s chances but wants his players to enjoy the occasion.

He said: “I was telling players what it was like to play in Dalymount. We wouldn’t have players that played in front of big crowds or anything like that. They’ve earned this. No one is expecting anything from us.

"Let’s be realistic here, we are playing Bohs who a few weeks ago I was watching them playing in Europe in the Aviva. Now we are playing them in the FAI Cup.

"All the pressure is on Bohs, they’ve beat Rovers and are the favourites for the cup. We are not going up there for a day out but we have to be realistic.”

Harte likened Friday’s tie to a cup final for his side.

“It is our cup final. Going up to Dalymount, the home of football. Everything has to go right for us if we are to go through, we know that. I want them to go and do themselves justice. We got this far, so let’s see what happens. Bohs are a very good team.”

Friday’s game for Maynooth is a culmination of a lot of hard work over the years, not just by the players but a number of people. Harte admitted the merging of Maynooth Town FC and NUIM was a huge development, for both of them.

“The amalgamation with the university and the scholarships we are getting is brilliant. Three years ago when we got to the quarter-finals of the Intermediate Cup, that was a massive thing and we went on and won it. Now we are in the quarter-finals of the Senior Cup.

"A lot of work has gone into getting where we are. You can’t take away from what the players have done this year. It has been brilliant.”

Harte hopes Maynooth follow in UCD’s footsteps and play in the League of Ireland. He admitted he would have loved to have had the option available to him of playing football and getting an education when he was younger.

“There is a bonus that you can get an education as well out of it. I went to England at 15 with only my Junior Cert. Now not saying I wouldn’t have gone but the option would’ve been there to stay and finish my education.

"A lot of kids come back from England with nothing to fall back on. You get to college and have a degree too.”

The Kildare man also believes there is an opportunity for a League of Ireland club in Kildare and Maynooth is perfect. He admitted that there have been talks with the FAI about it.

Harte said: “We have no League of Ireland club in Kildare, look at the population. The catchment area is massive too. This has proven that we could compete and hold our own in the First Division if we had the chance. It is something that we have looked into.

"We’ve had meetings with the FAI. They’ve been very positive. The only thing that is letting us down is infrastructure; we don’t have a ground that would be up to League of Ireland standard at the moment.” 

Having played football, it was a natural progression for Harte to go into coaching. He didn’t think he’d move into management but is enjoying it at the moment.

“I had been coaching kids teams and working my way up. I stopped playing with Maynooth and took over the U19s. One thing led to another. Deco (Hevey) came in as first team manager and I became his assistant. When Deco moved on I was offered the job.

"It has been a steady progression. I’m really enjoying it. I didn’t think I’d ever be a manager because I like coaching so much because there is a responsibility with management but I’m really enjoying it. To be honest when you work with a group of lads who just want to play. I’m working with a great group.”

Harte played Gaelic Football with his local club Celbridge but won’t be throwing his name into the hat for the Kildare Senior Football manager’s job now that Jack O’Connor is gone.

”I don’t think I’d have the time for that,” he laughed. “That’s too high profile for me. I love Maynooth and living in Celbridge it’s perfect.”

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