Liffey bid to turn tide of history in Aviva final
Liffey Wanderers are aiming to crown their second coming by upsetting Sheriff YC in today's FAI Junior Cup final at the Aviva Stadium - which is practically a home ground for them.
The Leinster Senior League club, based around the corner in Pearse Street and Ringsend, have gone from extinction only two years ago to the decider of a competition that began with 650 teams competing nationwide.
Admittedly, today's finale, which kicks off at 4pm, represents their toughest test on the pitch since re-forming. Sheriff, hailing from the opposite side of the Liffey, are odds-on to collect their third title in four years: the modern era kingpins of junior football have already this season seen off their opponents 4-1 in the Leinster Cup.
"Although Sheriff trounced us that day, the hurt caused to our players by such a defeat was no bad thing," claimed Liffey manager John Young. "The team has improved since and we'll give it a go. We know what a strong team Sheriff are but we're not going there to park the bus.
"Liffey folded in 2010 not because of players but due to lack of manpower off the pitch. We've achieved a lot since re-forming, and reaching the Aviva Stadium is a reward for all the hard work put in by the players and people behind the scenes."
Unlike Liffey, Sheriff have been on this big stage before, two years ago winning the first decider after it relocated to the Dublin 4 venue.
Expectations of silverware has been heaped upon them since putting out holders St Michael's of Tipperary at the quarter-final stage, not that manager Alan Reilly would countenance any complacency.
"I'd like to think our experience from playing previous finals, as well as the big pitch, will work in our favour," he said. "Our lads are fit - some of them could be playing for League of Ireland clubs, but it doesn't suit them - so I don't see that being a problem."
For the first time, the FAI Intermediate Cup final will also be staged at the Aviva, with Tolka Rovers facing Crumlin United in another Dublin derby beforehand at 1pm. Having ended Avondale United's five-in-a-row ambitions along their trail to the final, Crumlin will be fancied to complete the job by hoisting the trophy they won back-to-back in 2009 and 2010.
Tolka Rovers, meanwhile, are still awaiting their first Intermediate Blue Riband, yet possess sufficient experience to travel south from Glasnevin full of confidence.
Tolka boss Paul Doyle said: "Three of our players, Mark Townley, John Meleady and Mark Mooney, played for Kilbarrack in the FAI Junior Cup final two years ago, and so know what to expect at the Aviva. I think the others will enjoy the occasion as well."
Spectators can get to play in the national stadium during the half-time interval if they bring their boots. Anyone aged over six is eligible to be among the 10 winners selected from a draw.
Sunday Indo Sport