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Monday 23 October 2017

St Pats star Kenny Browne: I want to make amends

Painful memories of FAI Cup final loss spurring on Saints defender

Pictured ahead of the 2014 FAI Cup Semi-Final fixtures are Conor Winn, right, and Pat McCann, Finn Harps.
Pictured ahead of the 2014 FAI Cup Semi-Final fixtures are Conor Winn, right, and Pat McCann, Finn Harps.

WITH A painful five-decade wait for success in the competition, St Patrick's Athletic as a club do not lack motivation when it comes to the FAI Cup.

But for Saints defender Kenny Browne, the will to win that trophy in 2014 is even stronger as he tries to banish the pain of his last appearance on the Cup final stage.

Pats are overwhelming favourites for Sunday's FAI Cup semi-final at home to a Finn Harps side who have struggled in Division One this season, and as they have effectively surrendered their Premier Division title to either Dundalk or Cork City, the FAI Cup is still within reach for the Saints.

Liam Buckley's side last reached the final in 2012 where they lost in extra time to Derry City but Browne, one of seven survivors from that day, still has that defeat in his mind, as a bad memory and also as a motivational factor.

"It would mean the world to me to make it to the final, to not only play in the final but to go on and win it this time," says Browne.

"I still have memories of the last time we were in the final with St Pats, we lost and I was at fault for their winning goal. So I want to get back to that stage and win it.

"It's not a case of me owing something to the fans or trying to make it up to them, but I would like to repay them for what happened that day.

"It's massive for Pats as a club, 53 years since they last won the Cup and everyone is sick of hearing that statistic.

"This season hasn't been a great one for us, as a club and as a team. We have underachieved. So winning a Cup would be some kind of consolation for not winning the league again. Being champions this season we did want to win the league again and it's disappointing that didn't happen, the league just didn't work out for us.

"We are still there in the league, we want to make sure of third placed and push for second if we can. At the start of the season you aim to win three trophies. We didn't win the League Cup and we can't win the league so the FAI Cup has to be the aim now."

The vast majority of the current Saints squad have never played outside of the top flight but former Waterford United man Browne knows all about life in Division One and he's aware of the threat posed by clubs from the lower tier.

"We had a good run in the Cup a few years ago (2009) when I was with Waterford United," says Browne. "We beat St Pats and got to the semi-final where Sligo only beat us 1-0. A lot of people didn't give us a hope but we gave it a good go.

"It's a cliché but it is 11 against 11 on the day. We have already done our homework on Harps," he says. "They have a strong, physical presence, they seem to use long throw-ins a lot so we will give them the respect they deserve.

"We are looking forward to the game on Sunday but in no way are we taking it for granted that we're in the final already. There is a lot of pressure on us as we are expected to just turn up and beat them as we are a division ahead of them but it doesn't work like that.

"We have to be utterly professional on the day.

"If we play to our strengths we should win the game and make it into the final but if we drop our standards and our concentration levels for even a few minutes we could get hurt."

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