Heath Park boss out for revenge
PUBLISHED: 09:01 20 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:01 20 March 2013
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Long-serving Heath Park servant Shaun O’Reilly has a score to settle with the Essex Saturday Veterans Cup when he leads his side out to face Little Thurrock Dynamos in the final at Heybridge Swifts FC tonight (Wednesday, 7.30pm) after settling for a runners-up medal in the competition 13 years ago.
O’Reilly was also manager of the side who were beaten 2-0 by Pools United in the very first Veterans Cup final in 1998/99, and he has clear memories of the post-match reaction.
He said: “One of my favourite memories is of one of my players - who actually played alongside Cameroon’s Roger Milla at one point - chucking his boots in the bin after the game and vowing not to play again. And he didn’t!
“Nowadays I have an excellent set of players. They’re all getting a little older now, their kids have grown up and they’re looking to play football again on a Saturday afternoon while their missus is out shopping!
“With some of the sides we have beaten en route to the final, we have to fancy our chances against anyone. They’ll give us a very tough game, but we’ll give it our best shot, and if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.”
O’Reilly has been involved with the club for more than 20 years, and has overseen the reformation of a veterans side for this season.
Standing in the way of success this time around at Scraley Road are Little Thurrock Dynamos, whose manager Micky Phillips is chasing silverware in his first season in management.
Dynamos have cup pedigree as, under their previous moniker of Ockendon, they won the Veterans Cup 12 months ago.
Injury ruled Phillips out of playing in that game, but he hopes to make-up for his own personal disappointment by playing a pivotal role this season in the dugout.
He said: “Jason Plunkett was the manager last season and, as he stepped down at the end of the campaign, we agreed I’d take over as my injury still ruled me out. I’m pleased to say I’m thoroughly enjoying it, too!
“We have some very good players who have played at a decent standard and they’re just really enjoying still playing. Paul Cobb in particular has been a professional, but he still loves banging the goals in for us!
“A number of the squad used to play for Ockendon Motor Spares - who have enjoyed some great County Cup runs themselves.”
*Heath Park vs Little Thurrock Dynamos in the Essex Saturday Veterans Cup kicks-off at 7:30pm on Wednesday 20th March at Scraley Road, Heybridge Swifts FC. Admission is £4 for adults and £2 for concessions.