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Saturday 21 October 2017

Zayed: Armstrong has a bright future

LIAM BUCKLEY believes that St Patrick's Athletic can deal with the "burden" of their sad history in the FAI Cup after they breezed past Finn Harps and into the Cup final for the second time in three years.

The Saints trounced Finn Harps 6-1 at Richmond Park in the first of yesterday's semi-finals, as two goals each from Killian Brennan and Conan Byrne, as well as further goals from Sean Hoare and Chris Fagan, did the job for Pats.

Their place in that final at Lansdowne Road on November 2nd now secure, Pats can relax as they watch tomorrow's semi-final replay between Derry City and Shamrock Rovers. Boss Buckley is all too aware of the fact that the club's last Cup win was in 1961 but he feels the current squad won't be sidelined by the pressure to end that famine.

"History isn't a burden and we can make our own bit of history here," he said after the win over Harps, a win that was sealed at half time as the Saints led 3-1 at the break.

"Once you get over the white line you won't be thinking about anything else, other than winning. That's the bottom line.

"It's like people talking about players on big contracts of 50 grand a week - not that our players are. But when you cross the white line to play you don't think about the money. You go out to play and to win.

"It's the same with history, that goes to one side," added Buckley as his side now park the Cup bid and refocus on the league campaign, the Saints away to Drogheda United next Friday.

Brennan's opener came from a brilliantly curled free-kick. However, Harps levelled matters on 29 minutes when Harkin's delivery was powerfully headed home by Packie Mailey.

However, it was all downhill for Harps after that as Pat's restored their lead on 37 minutes when Brennan's corner was put away by Seán Hoare's downward header. A minute from half-time Pat's made it 3-1 as Christy Fagan's superb ball put Byrne though and he cleverly chipped keeper Conor Winn. The procession continued in the second period with Brennan (64 minutes), Fagan (70) and Byrne (78) all on target.

Brennan picked up the man of the match award and he hopes he can now go all the way and win the FAI Cup for the third time in his career, having already earned medals from his spells with Derry City and Bohemians.

"We are through to the final and we deserve to be there," said Brennan. "We have been on a good little run."

Harps boss Ollie Horgan said: "We started well but their second goal was disappointing and the third goal was the turning point. That opened it up for them and you saw the difference in class in the second half."

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