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Murphy's medal aim

A LONG League of Ireland career but a very short honours list -- that's been the story so far for St Patrick's Athletic goalkeeper Barry Murphy.

Close shaves and bad timing have been constants in his career -- he joined Bohemians just after they won the league title and missed out on a medal there, his previous club Shamrock Rovers went on to win leagues without him, and as his medal collection is pretty meagre for a player who has been in the league for eight seasons, it's a situation he's desperate to rectify.

"I have been in the league for a good few years now but all I have won is the First Division and the Setanta Cup, it's time I added a few more medals," says Murphy, who is expected to recover from the ankle injury picked up in training last week to line out in goal for Pat's in Sunday's Cup final against Derry City.

"I feel I am coming into the prime of my career now and I want to get some trophies on board. I feel I have had a good career so far but I don't have much to show for it in terms of winning things.

"You hear people like Owen Heary and Ken Oman, lads I played with, talking about what they have won as a player; as a player you want a taste of that.

"When I was at Bohs there would be banter with lads like Owen Heary, they'd say 'put your medals on the table', and you want to be able to answer that back by putting your medals out there -- it's how you measure your career when you finish.

"It's all well and good having memories when you finish playing but you need to have some medals and trophies to show for it," said the 27-year-old.

"We know that this is such a big deal for the club, not just for the team. Fifty-one years is way too long for St Pat's to go without the FAI Cup and this team can go down in history by winning the Cup."

Recent history of the competition means that it's often the man wearing gloves who emerges as the hero on the day -- think of Ciaran Kelly's hero status in Sligo on the back of his displays in goal for that side -- and Murphy is aware of the importance of his role.

"As a keeper you're in the spotlight in every game but it's more magnified in this match as it's a Cup final and a one-off, any mistake you make will be replayed all day, but you can also make yourself a hero," he added.

"This will be my first FAI Cup final, I had the experience of the Setanta Cup final but to play in the Aviva in front of a big crowd will be a major deal.

"Going to the stadium on Saturday to have a look will be a big deal for us, we will just try to prepare as best we can and deliver on the day."

Homework this week has entailed a detailed look at Derry City and the threats of a side who looked accomplished in the final weeks of the season. Pat's are aware that Derry beat the Saints in their last league game.

"I know Derry are a good side. I played with Simon Madden at Shamrock Rovers, I was at Bohs with Ruaidhri Higgins, and I know some of the other players from being in the Airtricity League squad. Derry have a very good side and it should be a great final on the day," says Murphy.

"They have threats all over the park. Barry McNamee has been very good in the last while and David McDaid is a real threat, he scored against us two weeks ago and they seem to have really come into form at the right time.

"But we have big-game players too, and it's all about who copes on the day."