Liam Buckley unconcerned by St Pat’s historic final ‘jinx’

Manager confident his charges can win a first FAI Cup since 1961

St Patrick’s Athletic manager Liam Buckley at Richmond Park. “As a footballer, you want to be at the cutting edge of the league, or in semi-finals or finals of cups,” he says.  Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

St Patrick’s Athletic manager Liam Buckley at Richmond Park. “As a footballer, you want to be at the cutting edge of the league, or in semi-finals or finals of cups,” he says. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 
Liam Buckley

t the club’s remarkable run of FAI Cup final defeats will be only become a talking point within the squad if they break the seqluence on Sunday by beating Derry City in this year’s final.

The Inchicore outfit have lost seven deciders since last lifting the trophy way back in 1961 and the issue is usually high on the agenda for Buckley’s cup-related press conferences and a major preoccupation for fans.

Buckley, though, insists that it’s simply not an issue for players who weren’t even born when then the run began.

“It’s doesn’t matter for them and it’s not like the club is never going to win the competition again. We will at some stage and the important thing now is that we have an opportunity to do it this Sunday.”

The manager, who led Sporting Fingal to the trophy in 2009, has a near full strength squad to choose from for the final with just Mark Quigley (back) and Aaron Greene (cup-tied) ruled out of the game and the Dubliners will start as favourites to win.

He insists, however, that having finished third in the league, he is reluctant to let Sunday be seen as defining the team’s season and whether it is remembered a s a success or not.

League decider

John Caulfield

“As a footballer, you want to be at the cutting edge of the league, or in semi-finals or finals of Cups,” he says.

“And that’s where I’d like Pat’s to be over the next few years, contending every year but you won’t win it every year because it’s such a difficult league.

“You’ve competition from your Corks and your Dundalks; Sligo have won bits and pieces, Rovers . . . like, it is a very competitive league, so just from a football perspective you want to be competitive.”

Derry’s status as outsiders this weekend is based on the fact that they weren’t especially competitive in the league at times and finished the campaign 28 points behind the defending champions.

St Patrick’s skipper Ger O’Brien is wary of the number, though, with the defender contending that in this instance at least, the table does in fact lie.

“Yeah, they had a poor start,” he says, “and Peter (Hutton) has not got the biggest of squads so he’s certainly looked to manage it for this competition.

Played wel

Still, seven points from nine would have delivered another league title if it could have been replicated against every other side. And if that level of dominance continues on Sunday afternoon, it should certainly deliver a cup.

The setting and occasion might level things up a bit but Buckley feels they too may be factors that work in his side’s favour.

“I’ve seen these guys away to Legia Warsaw (when they drew1-1) and that was a fantastic experience; a great stadium, a big crowd . . . I thought they did brilliantly. If they’re anything like that at the weekend they’ll give Derry a game, that’s for sure.”

Talk of cup finals past might just be back on the Inchicore agenda by Sunday evening – if St Pat’s play to their capability.

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