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Ryan: Cup win needed as proof of progress

SLIGO ROVERS had to work very, vary hard to get their hands on the FAI Cup last year.

And the bad news for Shelbourne is that Paul Cook's men have no intention of relinquishing their hold on the trophy as they are desperate to make sure that the 2011 season is one to remember.

The season can hardly be called a failure as Sligo -- who, it must be recalled, spent five years in the wilderness of the First Division, just like Shelbourne -- finished in second place in the league and have already secured European football for next season.

But there is a sense that losing to Shelbourne tomorrow would see the season tagged as a very disappointing one.

"I think we have to win it to show we have improved from last season," Sligo captain Richie Ryan told the Herald. "There's no point in getting to a final and not winning it. No one remembers who the beaten finalists were. You have to win it and get your name on the trophy. If we can win the Cup it's a sign that we have made progression.

"We finished with 13 more points in the league this season compared to last year, so if we can win the Cup again it will have been a successful season.

"And the finance is important as well. The prize money in the league has been slashed this year so the club probably needs every penny it can get, and winning the Cup would be a big help. If the club wants to keep this squad intact then we need to have success," added Ryan.

The squad's situation is not a pressing issue for tomorrow's game but it is a matter for some concern for afterwards, with the entire Sligo squad out of contract.

"My contract is up once this game is finished so I'm back to square one. I've never made a secret of the fact that I'd like to play in England again but there's not much happening on that score now, I'll get tomorrow out of the way and assess that next week."