Saturday 16 December 2017

Guy believes Saints' resilience is key to ending Cup drought

DEFEAT in the FAI Cup last season cost the previous manager of St Patrick's Athletic his job, as Jeff Kenna was forced to accept the inevitable and walk away from the club days after an embarrassing Cup loss at home to First Division side Waterford United last year.

That defeat only prolonged the club's agonisingly painful relationship with the competition, as Pats fans are by now sick of being told that it's 49 years since the Saints last won it.

But St Pats winger Ryan Guy says that the Pats crew of 2010 are far more resilient than the side which crumbled last season and, as they prepare to face Shamrock Rovers in the semi-final in Tallaght tomorrow the winners playing Sligo Rovers in the final next month, Guy insists that the players' hunger for silverware can see them over the line and into the final.

"That was definitely a low point but I think we have more resilience in our squad this year," says Guy, referring to that 2-0 loss at home to Waterford, Kenna's last game in charge.

"We've a lot of young players on board with plenty of ambition who are looking to go on to bigger and better things.

"That spirit is something that comes through the players but you have to attribute credit to the management team as well for selecting those types of players. I think we have a good mix between young, hard-working players and one or two veterans who have experience of winning and who know what winning involves," added Guy.

The current squad certainly has a different shape compared to 12 months ago -- of the Pats side which lost to Waterford in the Cup, just four men (Gary Rogers, Damian Lynch, Stuart Byrne and Guy) are still there, the rest of the 2009 squad cast aside by Pete Mahon.

And Guy believes that it's time for the present squad to end the club's trophy famine.

"I've been at the club for four years now and I'm probably the longest serving player in the squad so I definitely would have a dire urge to win something with St Pats. There are things you're proud of, like helping the club to make history in Europe but winning something domestically like the FAI cup would be very special," he says.

"When you've never won silverware it can be hard to imagine what winning is like, but we've plenty of supporters around who let us know just how much a competition like this means for the club. With all the near misses, the FAI cup is something that has grown in importance over the years especially for the supporters. This season our aim was to turn around our form from last year and I think we've done that -- winning the cup would have been beyond expectations at the start of the season but we've a great chance of making the final now and I feel we're ready to take it," he added.

Rovers boss Michael O'Neill said in the aftermath of last Saturday's defeat to Sporting Fingal that his side were "running on empty" and that he'd have to take a patched-up side into tomorrow's game, as suspensions to Danny Murphy and Craig Sives, on top of a lengthy injury list, reduces his options.

And Guy says that Pats are relishing the clash with the Hoops. "We've won already in Tallaght this season and we went pretty close in our second game there too. I got plenty of the ball in that game so hopefully I will be involved to the same level tomorrow," he says.

"We will have to play our high pressure game and really go at them and keep them under the cosh."

Rovers are without the suspended Murphy and Sives, while Murphy, Pat Sullivan and Sean O'Connor are out injured.

Shamrock Rovers v St Patrick's Ath, LIVE TOMORROW, RTE 2 (KO 3.15)

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