LIAM BUCKLEY, MANAGER of St Patrick’s Athletic, says the fact that his side is waiting 51 years to win the FAI Cup will not be on the minds of his players during Sunday’s semi-final against Dundalk.
The Inchicore club last lifted the trophy in 1961 but Buckley feels they have much bigger things to be concerned about, notably the fact that the Premier Division strugglers beat his side at Richmond Park earlier in the season.
“It does sound like a long time, 51 years,” Buckley told TheScore.ie.
“I know one or two of our board members would go back that far to the last time we won it but we don’t think about that really.
“We’re just looking forward, we’ve got two games to go – Dundalk obviously and, if we can get through, then a final.
“They’re obviously going to be two big games for us, but first things first. I’ve no doubt Dundalk will be saying the exact same: ‘listen, we can get through St Pat’s and you never know in the final, finals are one-off.’ We’re taking nothing for granted, we just need to make sure our application is right on Sunday but we’re not looking back, we’re looking forward.”
Buckley did admit that the momentum is with his side, given the fact that they have gone on an exceptional ten-game unbeaten run, culminating in last Monday’s 5-0 win over UCD.
“Certainly it is important in relation to the league which is our main bread and butter. In fairness to the guys, they’ve worked extremely hard and it’s been a difficult schedule for them with games coming thick and fast.
“We’ve had Monday/Friday games and even in the last week, we’ve had three games in six days. That is extremely difficult from a recovery perspective but they’ve got through it. The momentum has picked up in the last couple of minutes. It’s been good, please God it will continue on in the next few weeks.”
Pat Flynn, James Chambers and Greg Bolger are all available to Buckley again after suspension, while Christy Fagan is hoping to recover from an ankle problem. John Russell is back in training.
(Additional reporting by Tony Cuddihy)