St Patrick's Athletic host Finn Harps on Sunday in the semi-finals of the FAI Ford Cup in Richmond Park with both sides just 90 minutes away from a cup final in the Aviva Stadium on November 2 – kick-off in Inchicore on Sunday is at 1.45pm (Live on RTÉ 2).
The Saints will be looking to reach a fourth final in eleven years, while Finn Harps will be hoping to go a step closer to claiming their second FAI Cup since their one and only victory in the competition – a final they won against the Saints in a 3-1 win in the 1974 final in Dalymount Park.
Sunday's game is the first game between the sides since a Premier Division clash in Finn Park in October 2008, a game that was decided by a single goal scored by current Saints' striker Mark Quigley.
In team news, the Saints have no injury worries ahead of the game, however they are without the services of duo Greg Bolger (suspension) and Aaron Greene (cup-tied).
Speaking to stpatsfc.com, Saints'manager Liam Buckley admitted his players were looking forward to the game, but underlined that his side were not underestimating their First Division opponents.
“We know that we're favourites for this game, but we're taking nothing for granted. Finn Harps had an excellent win last week against Shelbourne, and Shels took us to a replay two rounds ago so we're expecting a tough game from Harps,” Buckley said.
“I was manager of Sporting Fingal when we won the cup, and as a First Division team, no one expected us to go all the way so we know very well not to underestimate Harps. It's a big occasion for both teams and sets of supporters so the lads are really looking forward to it and raring to go.”
For Saints' Republic of Ireland international midfielder Keith Fahey, the prospect of an FAI Cup semi-final in Richmond Park is not a new experience to him having been part of the last Pat's team to win a home FAI Cup semi-final – the Saints defeating Bohemians 4-3 in a Semi-Final replay after extra-time in October 2003.
“Yeah that game feels like a very long time ago now,” Fahey revealed when talking to stpatsfc.com. “I remember it being a real to and fro game, a great game of football though.”
The Saints claimed the bragging rights that night with two own goals, a Clive Delaney goal and an extra-time free-kick from Fahey proving to be the crucial goal as the Saints reached the FAI Cup Final. One of the own goals for the Saints was scored by none other than current Pat's defender, Ken Oman, with former Saints Robbie Doyle and Colin Hawkins similarly putting the ball into their net.
“I was disappointed they didn't give me that [Ken Oman] goal actually!” Fahey laughed. “I thought the ball was going in so I thought I should've been accredited the goal! But I do remember it was a really good game though, good crowd, good atmosphere. It was a really entertaining game and a great win for us at the time.”
Thinking ahead to this weekend's semi-final, Fahey expressed his hope that the Saints would have a good crowd behind them similar to that night back in October 2003, as Pat's look to reach what would be the Tallaght man's second FAI Cup final with the Saints.
“Hopefully the crowd get behind us on Sunday. There wasn't many at our game the other night, but Sunday is a good time to go and watch a game for people and for families as well so here's hoping it's a great occasion.”
Tickets for Sunday's FAI Ford Cup Semi-Final will be on sale from Richmond Park on Sunday morning in advance of the game with tickets priced €15 for Adults, €10 for Students/OAPs (Student ID required) and €5 for children under 12 (must be accompanied by adult).
Sunday's match ball sponsor is Inn Jokes Comedy club – see top class free comedy every month at the Patriot's Inn, next show on October 15th. See innjokes.com for more details. Inn Jokes is also proud to support the work of the Inchicore Environmental Group - follow @inchicoreEnviro on Twitter
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