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Kenny can't take more heartache

THE losing dressing room on Cup final day - it's a place which Waterford-born defender Kenny Browne has already seen, and it's not somewhere he wants to see again.

With the FAI Cup final between Derry City and St Patrick's Athletic now only days away, the two squads were today fine-tuning their plans for Sunday's showdown.

At times like this it's the older heads, like Derry veterans Ger Doherty and Barry Molloy or the experienced pros in the Pat's side such as Ger O'Brien and Barry Murphy, who will take the younger squad members aside and have a little pep-talk in terms of what to expect.

Twenty-six-year-old defender Browne, a stalwart in the Saints defence in a very solid season which saw him play in all bar two of their league games, is one of the main men as Pat's aim to end that 51-year FAI Cup famine and the Waterford man says that the memory of a final past is driving him forward for Sunday.

"I was involved with Waterford United when we played Longford in the final in 2004 and it still hurts to think about it," he says.

"I wasn't in the actual squad on the day -- I had gone out on loan to Kilkenny -- but I was involved in one of the early rounds with Waterford.



Incident

"We lost the final to Longford but it was hard to take. You had the whole incident about two balls being on the pitch when Longford scored.

"I think every player in that Pat's dressing-room has some sort of motivation, so we're all focused on winning the final," he says. "For me, it wasn't just the fact that we had lost the final but it was the manner of losing it, the Cup final is a one-off and people only remember the winners, no one remembers who the losing side was, apart from the players involved.

"Those Waterford players were distraught after losing it that year and I don't want to go through all that again.

"It was like a funeral, you'd think that someone had died the feeling was so bad.

"I have a chance to do something with St Pat's this year and hopefully we can all do what's needed on Sunday.

"I have only been at the club for a year but I know all about the history, the fact that it's 51 years since the club last won the Cup and it would be a huge achievement for this group of players to do that," added Browne, who previously lined out for Waterford and Sporting Fingal before Liam Buckley took him to Richmond Park at the start of the season.

"We just want to get out on the pitch now. It's been a long run-in since we won the semi-final, and this week has been a long week for us.

"Maybe the fans are enjoying all the build-up and all the talk before the game but I just want to get out and play the match."

The move to Inchicore has gone well for Browne, who slotted in to the heart of the Pat's defence alongside Conor Kenna. "We had ups and downs," says Browne, who is out of contract when the season finishes on Sunday but has already held talks with manager Buckley about saying on.

"The European run was great for us all and reaching the Cup final is a big achievement but Sligo beat us to the league title and that's still a bit of a sore one. But I have enjoyed the season and hopefully we can carry on with Sunday's game and win the trophy.

"It's a massive chance for us. I think the European experience will stand to us in terms of what we have to deal with on Sunday.

"We had a lot of travel in those European matches, a long lead in to the game and a lot of waiting around.

"Playing in a 50,000 capacity stadium in Germany, when we played Hannover, was an amazing experience.

"It's great to be part of, you think of all the players who had nothing to play for in the last few weeks of the season, and you feel privileged to be here."

While Derry come into the game confident that one of their free-scoring attackers like David McDaid or Stephen McLaughlin can deliver on the day, Browne says that Pat's have some men capable of scoring on the big stage as well.

"We have struggled for goals at times this season but lads like Christopher Forrester and Sean O'Connor have come up with goals in the last few weeks, and Chris Fagan is our main threat.

"Over the season we have been criticised for the lack of goals and maybe we should have done more, but we have great players in the squad and we have match-winners who can pop up on Sunday."