Ex Derry favourite out to end City's FAI Cup dream
SIMON Madden has fond memories of lifting the FAI Cup with Derry City but the St Patrick's Athletic defender is desperate to end the Brandywell club's run in the competition on Friday night.
The Dubliner, who spent two seasons with the Candy Stripes, was part of the 2012 FAI Cup winning team that defeated St Pat’s 3-2 after extra-time at the Aviva Stadium.
He describes his time on Foyleside as the best days of his career and the 30 year-old Dubliner is hoping to repeat those heroics in his first season at Richmond Park.
“The FAI Cup is massive for us,” said the right-back. “Everyone wants to play in that cup final and it gets you into Europe which is what clubs want nowadays with all the money which builds budgets as well. So it’s important that we win something and get into Europe on the back of it.”
St Pat’s go into Friday’s FAI Cup second round clash with confidence following an impressive display against Cork City in the 1-1 draw at Turner’s Cross on Sunday.
The Saints haven’t given up the chase for European football through their league position but, like Derry, the Cup offers the best pathway to Europa League qualification.
“There’s still a chance,” added Madden. “There are plenty of league games left. We were disappointed not to get the three points last night in Cork, we played really well.
“We created plenty of chances and just didn’t take them. Listen, a point down in Cork is good and we have a bit of momentum now going into the game on Friday and hopefully we get a positive result at Brandywell.”
Reflecting back on that classic FAI Cup Final in 2012 the former Leeds United man has high hopes of repeating that feat.
“It was probably some of the best days of my career up there in Derry. I really enjoyed playing in Europe and winning the FAI Cup was special.
“It was a great day out for the family and friends and the whole experience of it and it’s very special playing at the Aviva.
“Every player wants to be involved in that because it will always stay with you. You always remember those days.”
Madden actually had a goal ruled out for offside in the final at the end of extra-time before substitute Rory Patterson netted a dramatic winner.
“I was talking about that the other day actually,” he laughed. “There was something like five minutes to go, probably less, but I had the energy to keep going and couldn’t believe when he put the flag up for offside.
“It would have been very enjoyable to get a goal but we got the win in the end and it was probably one of those classic cup finals people remember.”
It’s just a pity the teams meet at such an early stage in the competition given they have produced three entertaining matches in the league this season.
St Pat’s lost twice at Brandywell (2-1 twice) in two dramatic clashes sandwiched between a 5-2 thrashing of Kenny Shiels’ side at Richmond Park.
Having ran City close on both visits to the Lone Moor Road venue this year, Madden is confident they can progress in the cup.
“We’ve played well in both games at Brandywell this season so hopefully we can produce the same performance with a better result this time.
“They’ve been end-to-end games with plenty of chances. Both teams want to get the ball down and play so it’s obviously good for the fans and the neutral to watch.
“The three games we’ve played this season have been open and attractive football and hopefully there will be plenty of goals and we get the result we want.
“Both teams probably hoped for an easier draw given the teams that are still in it but if you’re going to win it you’re going to have to meet some of the top teams somewhere down the line. Whoever wins on Friday could maybe get an easier draw in the next round.
“You saw (Shamrock) Rovers get beat in the last round and there always seems to be a top team going out each round so that will happen again this round. It will be interesting to see how it pans out.”