Sunday 17 December 2017

Gartland: 'FAI Cup final can get neutrals into gear'

Dundalk's Brian Gartland
Dundalk's Brian Gartland

A crowd over 25,000 is expected to pass through the gates of Lansdowne Road to see Sunday's FAI Cup final.

And for Dundalk defender Brian Gartland, now enjoying a spell in the limelight at Dundalk after soldiering away in relative obscurity with clubs like Bray, Shelbourne, Monaghan and Portadown, the theme for the weekend is the old Van Morrison line: Wouldn't it be great if it was like this all the time?

Dundalk and Cork City will both bring a strong support to Dublin 4 on Sunday, but Gartland also hopes that the general public will also pop along. "It should be a great match for the neutrals," says Gartland ahead of his first-ever Cup final.

"You think of players like Daryl Horgan, Richie Towell, Ronan Finn, brilliant attacking players, you have our full backs Dane Massey and Sean Gannon and who are great at bombing forward, it's great to watch. And Cork have great footballers as well.

"We can only do our job in terms of playing attractive football and entertaining people. It's frustrating when you see some of the talent in the league, players I play with and against, there is real quality in this league but people just dismiss it because the overall package falls short.

"It's frustrating and there is a long road ahead to the stage where we could all get massive crowds every week, not just for the cup final. You have Chris Forrester playing in front of 17,000 people in League One in England and here he was used to crowds of 1,700. It's a big difference as a player, as you love playing in front of the big crowds, you thrive on that," added Gartland, hopeful that his side can add the Cup to the league title.

"People said at the start of the season that we'd have to win back to back titles to be seen as a great side. Now they are saying we need to do more, you are always having to prove yourself to people," he says. "We are confident, we love playing football together and it would top it all off to win on Sunday. winning the league was the priority and we've done that so now let's go on and win in the biggest day of the season."

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