Liam Buckley knows all too well about the unpredictable nature of FAI Cup Finals and he believes St Patrick’s Athletic’s league defeat on Friday night will have no bearing whatsoever on next month’s Aviva Stadium showpiece.
Having guided First Division representatives Sporting Fingal to a shock FAI Cup triumph against Sligo Rovers in 2009, Buckley was at pains to point out that form and reputation count for nothing when it comes to cup final day.
The St Pat’s manager if long enough in the game to know there are no certainties in cup football and it’s all about who plays best on the day.
Therefore, he won’t dwell too long on his side’s defeat to cup final opponents, Derry City on Friday night.
“Cup finals are one-off occasions,” said Buckley. “I’ve seen First Division teams, like when I was at Sporting Fingal, win the cup a few years back against Sligo Rovers who were in the Premier Division and it’s about whoever plays the best on the day and they’ll win it.
“Derry are a very good side,” he added. “They were down a few bodies for quite a lot of matches this season but Derry have a very competitive squad and so do we.
“They dominated the first half and our passing went askew, we didn’t play well at all. But we picked it up in the second half but ultimately you have to play for 90 minutes and not 45. And over the 90 I think Derry probably, marginally deserved the victory.
“Gerard Doherty pulled off some great saves and we had one at the end that skimmed the post on the inside and sometimes they go in. It was unfortunate it didn’t happen.
“We’re excited about the potential of the game in two weeks time and I’m looking forward to it because it will be a good footballing game.
“Derry do play very well. They have a lot of good players as do we and I expect a good game on the day.”
While Declan Devine’s preparations for the Cup final begin in earnest, Buckley must first concentrate on securing second spot in the league when they entertain Cork.
“We’ve got a game against Cork next week with the view to securing our spot in Europe so we needed to make sure we get something out of that game and then we’ll have a look at Derry the following week.
“Obviously you would prefer not to go down to the final day but that’s the way the league is. It’s a very competitive league. Who knows what way it will all finish up?”
And does he think Derry will benefit from an extra week’s rest?
“You could have a look at it both ways,” said Buckley. “From our point of view we have another match to tidy things up.
“We need a point but please God we get a win from a confidence prospective going into the final the following week,” he concluded.