“We’d played Club America in the past and they’re a very good side. But we’d also noticed that for some reason they’ve always fallen short. That said, I never expected the game to be as comfortable in the first half. We went in at half time one up, had looked threatening from set pieces and they hadn’t had a shot on goal.
“Now we knew that it wasn’t going to stay that way and of course they threw bodies forward in the second half and had us pinned back for long periods. They missed some chances, and we rode our luck too at times.
“I have to give full credit to our lads, because they have worked so hard over the last six or seven weeks to come from where they started to here is phenomenal. The energy levels they showed tonight on this big pitch were fantastic, after already playing three games.
“We haven’t changed our team a lot, which is sometimes the nature of tournament football. I know there are two or three kids who didn’t take part tonight, but they have played a huge part as well up to now and contributed to where we are.
“I was asked after Monday’s draw [with Newcastle] if we were delighted and I said that it was the opposite, because we were winning the game right until the end. There was a real feeling of disappointment in the changing room and we had a hard job to pick the players up from that.
“So from that game and from being 2-0 down at half time on Tuesday to where we are now, it’s been a phenomenal two and half games.
“The kids needed no motivation today and it’ll be same on Friday. We’ve had to say very little this week. The staff have taken themselves away from the boys, left them to themselves to rest and prepare in their own way. Their attitude and behaviour has been fantastic and they’ve all looked after themselves. We name the team and go through the set pieces but after that it’s all been down to them.
“They knew what the game against Newcastle on Wednesday meant in terms of qualification. It’s almost been like a quarter final and semi-final these last two days. They’ve been very aware of the occasion and the chance to make history and become the first County Down team to get to a final and they’ve done that. So full credit to them.”