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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019

'Trippier jumped in front of me and as soon as it hit my head, I knew it was in. Everything just slowed down'

Newport County striker and Carlow native Padraig Amond relives last year’s FA Cup goal against Spurs and hopes another is on the cards against Leicester City this weekend.

Carlow's Padraig Amond scores against Tottenham ins last year's FA Cup tie to give Newport County the lead.
Carlow's Padraig Amond scores against Tottenham ins last year's FA Cup tie to give Newport County the lead.
Image: Andrew Matthews

WHEN PADRAIG AMOND returned to his home town of Carlow last summer, he was bombarded by the locals who only wanted to talk about one thing – his FA Cup goal against Tottenham.

The 30-year-old Irishman and former Shamrock Rovers ace made headlines around the world 12 months ago with the most famous goal of his career to date.

Amond struck for Newport County in their fourth-round tie with Spurs and while Harry Kane levelled the game with a late equaliser, it still earned the Welsh side a lucrative Wembley replay.

A year on, he is still more than happy to retell the story and he will have the chance to make more memories when he returns to FA Cup action against Premier League opposition this afternoon.

Source: The Emirates FA Cup/YouTube

County host Leicester City at Rodney Parade this evening with the forward charged with delivering the goods again.

“I never get sick talking about that Tottenham goal,” he explains. “I love it and if people want to keep feeding my ego, then that’s great.

When I went back to Carlow in the summer, that was all people spoke to me about. Football is a sport that’s universally loved.

“Even if you’re one of the few that doesn’t like it, there are some teams everyone knows. Spurs is one and I can say I scored against them in a competitive game. I can remember it all so clearly.

Robbie Willmott crossed it in, Kieran Trippier jumped in front of me, and as soon as it hit my head, I knew it was in. Everything just slowed down. It’s so hard to explain.

“At half time, the cameras were running after me, but when I got into the changing room I went to the toilet and just had a little smile to myself.

“I wanted to enjoy the moment we were 1-0 up against Tottenham. If we’d held on it would probably have been up there with the biggest FA Cup shocks of all time.

“It was an unbelievable moment and hopefully I can have another one against Leicester.”

Newport County v Colchester United - Sky Bet League Two - Rodney Parade Padraig Amond celebrates with Jamille Matt during a game against Colchester United last year. Source: EMPICS Sport

Amond has always been a man who loves the big occasion. In 2009 he faced Cristiano Ronaldo with Shamrock when the Irish side hosted Real Madrid at Tallaght Stadium.

Karim Benzema scored the winner that day in a 1-0 Real victory. In his time with Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira, he also went head-to-head with a Porto outfit which featured Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, and Hulk.

It means he has no reason to fear Leicester, insisting Newport can cause another shock.

“There probably aren’t many League Two players who have played against some of the guys I have, but in any one-off game you have nothing to lose,” he explains.

“There was a big hullabaloo when I played against Real. It was Ronaldo’s debut. We played with the footballs Madrid use in the Spanish league, not the normal Irish ones.

Our captain went up for the coin toss and was told whichever way it fell, Madrid could pick ends.

“I remember before the game Madrid’s team sheet came in. Our manager Michael O’Neill – who is Northern Ireland manager now – was going through their side and picking out who was marking who.

“All we could think was -’Wow’. There was a big long name next to No. 5 and we couldn’t figure out who it was. Michael told us it was probably a young kid, likely a centre-half from the academy.

We walked out on to the pitch and it turned out it was Pepe! They’d written his full name on the sheet.

“He’d been banned for 10 games for kicking lumps out of a fellow against Deportivo. He was a pretty daunting opponent.

“Benzema scored in the 87th minute and they beat us 1-0. It was an unbelievable experience and it was the same when I played Porto with Pacos.

“I was 22 at the time and I went into it a bit blind, but we drew 3-3 even though they had Falcao, Hulk and James.

“The experiences I’ve had in big games still help me and they will do so again this weekend.”

Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo made his Real Madrid debut during a pre-season friendly against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The striker has scored 14 goals for Newport this season and has no plans to return to Ireland for now having taken up the offer of a one-year contract extension in South Wales.

“There is no pressure on us against Leiceser. We’re the only ones who think we can get a result, but I hope they come and play a full-strength side,” he said.

“I want to test myself against the best like Jamie Vardy, Harry Maguire and Kasper Schmeichel.

“The Leicester story is the best one in football – I don’t think it will ever be beaten. For them to win the Premier League was just remarkable.

“They’ve still got world-class players and now we get to play against them which is fantastic.”

Words: Alex Bywater.

Gavan Casey, Murray Kinsella and Andy Dunne preview the weekend’s action:

Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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