O'Brien and Finn Harps' Pat McCann. David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Saints skipper O'Brien wants 'another crack' at Derry in FAI Cup final

St Patrick’s Athletic meet Finn Harps in this afternoon while Shamrock Rovers and Derry also face off in the other semi-final.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC must deal with the pressure of being heavy favourites when they come up against Finn Harps in this afternoon’s FAI Cup clash, according to captain Ger O’Brien.

The reigning SSE Airtricity League Premier Division champions host Harps, currently mid-table in the First Division, at Richmond Park this afternoon with a place in the final up for grabs.

With the title now beyond them, the Saints will be even more focused on obtaining some silverware and full-back O’Brien has called on his team-mates to capitalise on the opportunity.

“It’s a home draw, that’s what we wanted,” O’Brien said. “People will look upon it and say ‘you’ve got Finn Harps at home, it’s great’. It is great, but the most important thing for us was to make sure we came out of the hat first.

“To get Finn Harps is great for us and it will be a great occasion but is going to be tough.

There is a lot of pressure on us going into the game. We’re looked upon as big favourites and rightly so because we are defending champions, we’re in the Premier Division and Finn Harps are in the First Division.

“We’ve got some fantastic players, the likes of Keith (Fahey) who has played in cup finals in England. Of course there is going to be big pressure on us but that is what you want to be involved in. You want to have that pressure on your shoulders and please God we can deliver on Sunday and get ourselves to a final.”

Ger O'Brien with Pat McEleney O'Brien and Pat McEleney during the 2012 final. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

The other semi-final sees Shamrock Rovers welcome Derry City to Tallaght this afternoon and while O’Brien has enjoyed spells at both, he would choose a rematch of the 2012 final, when Derry won 3-2 after extra-time, if given a choice.

That said, he will gladly take either as long as they get the chance to end the 53-year barren run in the competition.

“I’m sure all the neutrals want a big Dublin derby in the final but the two teams from the northwest are going to have big things to say about that,” he added. “Having played for Derry and having been beaten by them two years ago, I’d like another crack at them if we do manage to get through to the final.

“But to be honest, it doesn’t really matter who gets through once we do our job.

“If we can get ourselves to a cup final as that team that hasn’t won it since ‘51, this squad of players would be absolutely delighted. Being from a Pat’s background myself I know how important it is and what it would mean to the fans.”

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