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Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

O'Brien keen to bridge Pat's generation gap

St Pat’s defender Ger O’Brien won’t let himself be distracted ahead of Sunday’s FAI Cup Final.
Nov 1st 2012, 4:39 PM 446 0

SUNDAY’S FAI CUP Final will be a family affair for Ger O’Brien — and the St Patrick’s Athletic defender is determined not to disappoint those closest to him.

Brought up a Pat’s fan in a clan of devoted Saints, O’Brien needs no reminding that it would mean the world if the Inchicore club end their 51-year cup famine with a win against Derry City this weekend.

Now 28, O’Brien and fans of a similar age have known nothing but heartbreak in the cup. Since their famous win against Drumcondra in 1961, Pat’s have lost in six finals, most recently in 2006 when the Candystripes edged them out in extra-time.

As the big day draws close, O’Brien can’t let his mind wander to the mistakes of the past.

“I’ve been a Pat’s fan all my life and my family are Pat’s, so I know what comes with it,” he tells TheScore.ie. “But even when we drew Crumlin in the first round the talk had begun so as a group, as footballers, we don’t really think about it.

“Supporters think about it and it will be mentioned to us every day this week. But if we just concentrate on training [this week], we’ll get ourselves ready for Sunday.

“We’re just really looking forward to the game. These occasions don’t come around often in players’ careers so it’s something we’re really looking forward to.”

He adds: “Sure I spoke to fans in the build up to the Dundalk game [the semi-final] and they expected us to be beaten just because it was the cup. If we went there in the league, they’d have fancied our chances, but it’s just the way it is.

It’s a generation. If you’re 50 years of age, you haven’t seen the cup being lifted down here. A lot of my family and a lot of supporters that age haven’t seen it.

Us as a group, if we manage to do it, we’ll go down in a lot of people’s history books in this football club, so it’s something that we are really, really looking forward to.

Despite finishing 16 points behind Pat’s in the league, Derry came out on top when the sides met in the Brandywell for a dress rehearsal two weeks ago, winning 2-1.

On league form and in the bookmakers, Pat’s are heavily fancied to break their cup hoodoo but O’Brien has seen plenty of favourites turned over in his time.

Obviously the league position’s not going to lie. We finished I don’t know how many points ahead of them. Over the course of the season, we’ve been the better side but it’s cup football. You look at Chelsea in the Champions League last year.

He adds: “They beat us, and in fairness, comfortably enough there two weeks ago. So whether it’s mind games for them, I don’t know. It won’t have an effect on us.

“We’ll focus on ourselves and if we turn up, we’ll have a great chance.”

– Additional reporting by Sean Farrell

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