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faherty: i want to be winner at pats

Striker hungry for Setanta glory

ST PATRICK'S Athletic have a great chance of ending their seven-year trophy famine when they take on Bohemians in the all-Dublin final of the All-Ireland Setanta Sports Cup tomorrow.

And Saints striker Vinny Faherty says this is exactly why he quit hometown club Galway United and moved to Dublin, so he can add some medals to his CV.

With four goals so far this season, Faherty has been one of the key performers for the Saints. But when Pats began the long journey to the Setanta final with a 1-1 draw away to Derry City last September, Faherty was engaged in a relegation battle with Galway United.

"Games like this are the reason why I came to Pats. I wanted to be up there at the top of the table, competing for leagues and winning cups because that's what it's all about," says Faherty, who was Galway's top scorer last season with six league goals.

"You want to be winning matches and achieving things in the game and it was why I was happy to sign for St Pats. We've had a good start to the season. We are top of the league and we're in the Setanta Cup final and in the next round of the League Cup, and this is what I want to have all the time.

"Pats is a massive club but they haven't really shown that in the last few years in terms of winning things. I think the last trophy they won was the League Cup and that was about seven years ago.

"The players are aware of that from the supporters. The fans here are brilliant, they deserve success and it's up to us as players to deliver that for them.

"When I was speaking to Pats about coming here, I knew from talking to (manager) Pete Mahon that he was building a squad of young, hungry players who wanted to do well. And this final tomorrow is a perfect example of that. We have shown how hungry we are by reaching the final. Now it's a test for us to see if we can go on and win it," added Faherty.

In terms of big-game experience, Bohs will have the edge tomorrow as players like Paul Keegan have already won the Setanta Cup while Owen Heary, Jason Byrne, Ken Oman and Killian Brennan and others have amassed countless medals. However, for Faherty, a cup final is a new experience.

"I never played in a big final before," he says. "I suppose my first final was with Salthill Devon in the U21 league, but I was never in a senior final before so it's a big thing for me.

"The Bohs players may have more experience overall, but we have some experience too. Lads like Stuart Byrne and Damian Lynch have won leagues and played in cup finals. They will be the cool heads in the dressing room.

"But to me, the thing in our favour is that our players are hungry to win things. Most of us have never won a trophy or played in a big final, and that's what we want. We are eager for success.

"So I don't think the experience will be a factor. We matched Bohs when we played them in the league earlier this season and even though it's a cup final, it's still 11 against 11. I enjoyed that game, I scored at Dalymount to give us the lead.

"I have a good record against the Dublin teams. I scored in the Dublin derbies against Bohs and Rovers, and it was nice to score in Tallaght against Rovers so maybe that's a good omen for me for tomorrow," added Faherty.

"I'm not worried about the occasion being too much for us or players freezing on the day. To me it's just another 90 minutes. It's a very important 90 minutes as there's a cup waiting for someone at the end of it, but it's still just a game.

"We'll approach it like it's a league game. We did well against Bohs away from home in the league earlier on. We could have beaten them, and we'll carry that form and that confidence into the final tomorrow."