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Smith and Dunne aglow at Irish success

Who needs Messi when you have Darren Dunne? That was the stance of Eastern Region IRL coach Gerry Smith as he and his star midfielder reflected on reaching the final.

Rilwan Sule picks up Darren Dunne after his opener against South Moravia
Rilwan Sule picks up Darren Dunne after his opener against South Moravia ©Sportsfile

Gerry Smith, Eastern Region IRL coach
We're just delighted to be in the final now – it's come early because we've another game on Wednesday against Tuzla. We have got a lot of sore and tired bodies, and we will have a day off tomorrow, so no talking about football – I'm browned off talking about football after the last five days, doing it from nine in the morning until nine at night. We'll just take a full chill day tomorrow, do something on Tuesday, and play the game on Wednesday. The game needs to be treated with respect because there are still people who can play their way into the team for the final on Saturday. It won't be just turning up and running round - everybody still needs to be kept on the boil.

South Moravia are very quick on the break – they break like wildfire – so when we got the second goal that was great, and maybe God was looking down on us when they hit the upright. It's not in the coaching manual; the man above sorts it out for you. It's great to be in the final – it hasn't sunk in just yet. There are five teams who are on the way home and were still knocking around for the weekend.

Anything we need to work on? Well, I am trying to get [Lionel] Messi but he's not Irish, so we'll just have to deal with what we have at the moment – I've got Darren Dunne and that's great for me. At the very worst our players have a silver medal going home and were the only team who will be appearing in two UEFA finals in the space of four years. Do I dare to believe we can win it? I'm going to have a couple of pints tonight and then I'll start to believe.

Darren Dunne, Eastern Region IRL midfielder
It was a tough game starting off, but they're all tough. We've got teams coming from all over Europe – there not just going to turn up. It's not a holiday here. They're here to win it. There's no messing about.

The penno came from good build-up play. I took a penno on Friday night and I went up and said 'Shall I go the same corner, or will I not?' and then I said 'No, I'll go the opposite corner' – and then I changed my mind. They say you should never change your mind, and I done that, and that's when the goalkeeper saved, it, but I was lucky enough to get the rebound. The second one is something we spend a lot of time on in training – a set piece. I've lost count of the number of goals we've score from set pieces over the last couple of years

Your feet have to be on the ground. I've been around the game enough – my club have been beaten in two finals this season, so I'm not getting too ahead of myself. You have to respect your next opponents. We're not really bothered about the final yet – it's Tuzla, our next opponents, who we're thinking about.

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