BARRY MURPHY KNOWS the pain of cup heartbreak all too well but the St Patrick’s Athletic keeper is keeping his bad memories to himself.
Three times in the past, Murphy has been on the brink of a place in the FAI Cup final only to fall agonisingly short at the penultimate hurdle.
Sunday’s semi-final against Dundalk in Oriel Park could be fourth time lucky for the Dubliner, but while he’s learned a lot in defeat, he is staying quiet about his experiences when chatting to the younger faces in the Pat’s dressing room.
“I think the less they know about it, the better,” Murphy told TheScore.ie this week. “They’ve come in and they’ve been totally unfazed by things.
They’ve been involved in the biggest games of the year against Rovers and Sligo. Maybe their naivety has worked well for them because they don’t know how big the occasion is. They can just get down and play their stuff and they’ve been rewarded for it.
If there’s anyone with a cup record worse than Murphy’s, it’s St Pat’s themselves. 1961 was the last time the Saints’ long-suffering fans saw their side lift the trophy but the manner of the quarter-final win against Drogheda United last month might convince some that their luck is about to change.
After a 0-0 draw in Inchicore, Pat’s trailed 1-0 in the replay and looked down and out until Vinny Faherty scrambled home an equaliser off his face in stoppage time. Murphy then stepped up as the hero of the evening, saving three penalties in the shootout to send them through.
“He’s trying to claim he headed it,” he says with a laugh when asked about Faherty’s goal that night.
Maybe for the fans, luck has gone against them years before so they’re kinda taking comfort in the fact that we’ve got a bit a luck this year with Vinnie’s face-goal and the penalties as well.
It’s a tough game on Sunday. It’s a semi-final and we know that everyone is going to be up for it.
It has been a long season for Murphy and Pat’s, not least in the last week where they played three league games in six days. There’s no sign of fatigue though, and for Murphy and those who have always come out on the wrong side in the cup, Sunday is their chance to turn the usual heartbreak into happiness for a change.
“Trevor [Croly, Pat's assistant manager] said to us during the week that when you actually boil things down, you’ve got two or three cups a year. Make that over a 10, 15-year career, there’s not that chances you’re going to get to actually win medals.
“You play 30 games a season but how many of those have medals involved? That’s something that’s been boiled down and said to us this week and he’s right.
“It’s time to step up now and put that medal around our necks.”