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i'm mad' to upset pat's

DERRY CITY man Simon Madden is ready to disappoint a large chunk of his family by helping his club win the FAI Cup at the expense of St Patrick's Athletic on Sunday.

St Pat's captain Conor Kenna is aiming to become the first Saints player in 51 years to lift the famous old trophy, but one of those standing in his way on the opposing side is Madden, Kenna's cousin.

"Yeah, Conor's my first cousin so we're used to seeing a lot of each other and we get on well together," says Madden, the former Leeds United man who joined Derry from Dundalk at the start of this season.

"I know this season the Cup is such a big deal for Pat's, with the 51 years and all the rest, and it's a big burden on Conor and the rest of them to have to deal with.

"Normally I'd be delighted to see someone from your family get the chance to go up and lift the trophy at the Aviva Stadium but on Sunday I hope it's his side of the family that's disappointed.

"The family is split between Pat's and Derry for Sunday, I'll expect to get a bit of abuse from a few aunts and uncles if we beat them but that's what the Cup final is all about, someone has to go home unhappy," added Madden.

"Apart from the family connection I know a lot of the Pat's players, I played with Greg Bolger at Dundalk last season, Ian Bermingham was a year behind me at schoolboy level and I played against a lot of them over the years so I know a fair bit about them."

The Derry squad is drawn almost exclusively from the Derry/ Donegal/Tyrone area, bar imports like the Scot Stewart Greacen and the Dubliner Madden. So Derry already have one good omen on their side ahead of Sunday's final as City have always had a Dubliner in their team any time they have won the trophy. Past wins such as 1989 (Mick Neville, Kevin Brady, Paul Doolin, John Coady), 1995 (Dermot O'Neill, Paul Doolin), 2002 (Alan Gough) and 2006 (Clive Delaney) saw Dubliners play a massive part in Derry's success and Madden hopes to repeat the trick.

"We have two Dublin lads at the club this season but the other lad, Conor Murphy, can't play on Sunday as he's cup-tied so hopefully I can do the business and fly the Dublin flag," he says.

The Tallaght man is part of the scenery around the Brandywell, having moved to the Donegal village of Faughan to be close to the Brandywell, though Madden is out of contract when the season ends .

"I love it up here, Donegal is a great place to live and there's such a buzz around the city of Derry since we made it into the final.

"We had a great run in the Setanta Cup this season, we made it into the final but lost, so hopefully we can go one better against Pat's on Sunday."

In trouble due to some poor mid-season form, Derry turned things around and became the in-form side at the tail end of the campaign, giving them confidence ahead of the decider on Sunday.

"We always said that when we got our top players back fit we could challenge and that's happened in the last while, everybody is fit and we look like a very strong team."