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LSL Saturday Review with Robbie Murray

Robbie Murray looks back on a successful LSL Saturday season.968904 10151619190227229 413553218 n

1. What were your expectations coming into the season?
The prospect of playing in the Leinster Senior League was a new experience and me. For so many players like myself, finishing the U-19 League there is no clear pathway and therefore choices have to be made. Having played Airtricity league football the so called "step down" didn't bother me as I still saw the opportunities that UCD could offer to continue my development. I sat down with the UCD management and came to the decision that the most important thing was to be playing every week. I therefore decided to give the LSL a go for the for the 2012/13 season. I set myself 3 objectives which I believed to be achievable. First, to perform well enough to make the starting 11, Second, to play consistently and to be in the managers mind for a place in the Collingwood Cup squad. And, finally, to help the team finish as high as possible in our Division.

2. What was pre-season like?
"Macker" usually has the lads back training in July. I like to try and remain active during the break and maintain a reasonable fitness base, nonetheless pre-season can be brutal and this season was no different. The intensity that Timmins' brought to his sessions was quite impressive and surprising. In football, the margin between success and mediocrity can be very small and our solid pre-season helped us up to clock up 4 straight wins at the start many of these secured in the last 20 minutes.

3. Were there any additions to the squad this year that helped breathe new life?
For me, being one of the new faces it was a case of getting to know many new team mates this year. There is a lot of rotation within the squads at UCD and plenty of opportunity to progress based on a players performance and consistency. During our Saturday cup run many new of the "newer" players were given and opportunity to impress and they certainally took their chance beating Cherry Orchard along the way and losing narrowly to Crumlin in the final.

4. Who were the standout players during the season?
The LSL College teams are fortunate to have so many good players, all at different stages of their development. It's therefore tough to single out individuals but as you have cornered me I have to answer the question. There is a lot of rotation between the Saturday and Sunday sides however the core of the Saturday side remained the same throughout the season. Robbie Keogh was an inspirational captain and Niall Hanley on his day can be almost unplayable. In fairness, several players proved to be game changers a vital times of the season which showed the depth of quality that is available at the club.

5. What were the pivotal moments during the season?
We got off to a flyer with 4 straight wins in September and it almost seemed easy. There followed a tricky period in October where we lost 3 in a row but we ended the month with a great 6-0 win against Newtown. A 2-2 draw away on an absolutely freezing night in up Crumlin was a massive confidence boost and thereafter we showed reasonable consistency through the winter. There was some tension in the closing weeks when we failed to pick up points against some of our nearest rivals but it all changed with two great successive home wins against St Patricks CYFC and Ringsend Rovers that virtually clinched promotion.

6. Who were your closest rivals during the season?
There were no pushovers in the Division that's for sure. Crumlin, St Patrick's, Ringsend and St Francis were always contenders for the promotion spots. In reality, every team provided a different challenge so it would be foolish to take anybody for granted.

7. When did you join UCD?
How many seasons have you spent with the club? I joined UCD in Oct 2011 and went straight into the U-19 Airtricticy League side. I played in the Harding Cup, the Crowley Cup that year and we reached the final of both competitions. I also made a number of appearances for the college team and got on the score sheet a few times. Prior to joining UCD I played with my home club Athlone Town for 2 years winning an U-18 DDSL League & Cup double with Michael Collins. I also made over a dozen appearances for Athlone Town in the First Divsion, which included a 2-0 win over the UCD Airtricity team.

8. What does it mean to you to get to the top Division?
Personally, I was reasonably pleased with my contribution to what was an enormous achievement to finally get UCD promoted to the top flight of the LSL. However, this was not a one year accomplishment by this squad alone, rather 10 years of achievement by the manager and staff and the many players that have passed through the club and getting multiple promotions. Next season is a step up once again and will provide another big challenge for everyone. I know all the players and management will want to win and expectations will not be lowered.

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