Murphy believes St Patrick's have the quality to get past Dundalk to reach final
FAI CUP SEMI-RINALS: EMMET MALONEgets the views from the camps ahead of tomorrow’s FAI Cup semi-finals
TIME PLAYS tricks on the memories of many footballers when they start to rattle off their records and Barry Murphy gets one thing wrong when he talks about his three appearances in semi-finals of the Ford-sponsored FAI Cup. The two most recent, he recalls, were for Bohemians, and both ended in 1-0 defeats by Sligo Rovers, who then went on to lift the trophy.
And the third was with Shamrock Rovers as he suggests but it was not Sporting Fingal in 2009. If it had been, there’d be a welcome positive omen of sorts in there for Dundalk as it would mean that all three clubs to progress at his side’s expense went on to win the final.
The Sporting game, however, was a quarter and his debut at this weekend’s stage of the competition was actually back in 2006 when his current club, St Patrick’s Athletic, came away 2-0 victors from Tolka Park.
The Inchicore outfit narrowly failed to end their long wait for an FAI Cup success in the remarkable final that followed, with Derry City beating them on penalties, and they haven’t managed to do it since either. A rematch could be on the cards, though, and Liam Buckley’s men head to Oriel Park tomorrow as favourites, both to beat Dundalk and, ultimately, to win in the Aviva. It’s a status that the 27-year-old goalkeeper is instinctively wary of.
“I think we were a short price when we played them in Richmond and we got beaten,” he says. “We went up there and struggled too; we won 1-0 but it was a struggle. It’s a cup semi-final, though, and if you’re not up for this then you shouldn’t really be in the game. There will be a lot of factors – the pitch and that – but we’ve got quality in our team. It’s just a case of getting that quality to show on match day. In the last couple of days we have done. If we can do it again on Sunday then we have a great chance.”
The hosts have quality too, he insists, although some of it will be missing as Mark Griffin is suspended while Paul Whelan and Stephen Maher are both cup-tied. Ultimately, the two sides’ respective season suggests the tie is the Dubliners’ to lose and anything like a repeat of Monday night’s performance against UCD should see the club comfortably into its 10th decider. “We’ve had to grind out a couple of results lately, a couple of one nils and the 2-1 over Rovers when our backs were to the wall for the last five minutes but we’ve come out of them with three points and then had a really good performance on Monday.
“For the first time in a while we produced really free-flowing football and got the goals we deserved. Now we’ll be looking to take that into Sunday.”
Having had to wait through much of this season to nail down his place in the team, Murphy’s place is safe for tomorrow but Liam Buckley has plenty of calls to make in other departments.
John Russell trained on Thursday night while Conor Kenna and Sean O’Connor, having taken part in just the warm-up, are expected to do so this morning. Pat Flynn, Greg Bolger and James Chambers all also return from suspension to challenge those who played their part in the 5-0 win this week.
Shelbourne, meanwhile, travel to the Brandywell with a full squad and so Philly Hughes will be looking to add to the two goals he has already scored against City in the league this year.
“They’re a very solid side,” says Derry midfielder Barry Molloy, who should, along with Stephen McLaughlin, come back into the reckoning for manager Declan Devine. “They are hard to break down and they have got players like Philly Hughes and David Cassidy who can hurt you.”
Derry City v Shelbourne (1.45)
Dundalk v St Patrick’s Ath (3.55)