Joey O’Brien savours ‘great moment’ as he fulfils a childhood dream
Ex-Bolton and West Ham defender says success in front of his own a special feeling
Shamrock Rovers’ Joey O’Brien holds off the challenge of Dundalk’s Sean Murray during the FAI Cup final at the Aviva. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Such is the scale of some of the occasions that Joey O’Brien has been a part of over the course of his club career that it was not entirely clear where this cup success might rank in the great scheme of things as he left the Aviva Stadium on Sunday evening.
The look on his face left little doubt, though, just how much it meant to have picked up a cup winner’s medal with the club he has supported since childhood.
“It’s great,” said the former Bolton Wanderers and West Ham defender while sporting a mile-wide grin. “Because you’re doing it for your own, that’s how I look at it. In England there were some great moments but this is doing it for your own people. I must have had, I don’t know, 100 people out there who personally knew me as a kid and growing up.
“So, yeah, you’re doing it for your own. My wife came down with the kids and all that so that was unbelievable. They’re only babies [twins of almost two] and they won’t remember it but we’ll have a few pictures. It’s a great moment.”
The medal, he added, was safely in his pocket, to be treasured over the years ahead.
There may be others, he hopes, still to come for he has at least one more year of playing in him and Rovers, everyone in this group now clearly believes, are capable of pushing on to challenge for a first league title since 2011.
“Listen,” he says, “there was a lot of talk over the last few weeks that we’re a decent team, blah, blah, blah, but we had to win something. That’s what we had to do, and we’ve done that.
Hopefully it will be good now going forward, we can use it as a stepping stone to keep on doing it, keep on pushing in the league next season. That’s the aim, to win the league.”
They certainly showed some of the character that will be required of them in this win although O’Brien, who scored a spot kick with impressive conviction himself, still felt Rovers had enjoyed the little bit of luck they required when it mattered.
“There’s part of you thinks that if you get a goal that late on you just need to see it out but, listen, that’s why they are such a serious outfit. They got themselves back into the game and that was a killer blow for us. We regrouped, though, got to extra time.
“Penalties are a bit of lottery but today it fell for us,” he concluded.