Dane Massey rejects Cork 'fatigue' talk as double ambition drives Dundalk
Dundalk defender Dane Massey says there is no feeling of fatigue in the dressing room about the prospect of another FAI Cup final with Cork City.
The rivals will meet for a fourth Aviva Stadium showpiece in a row on Sunday, an unprecedented run in the context of the competition's history.
There are fears that the repetition will take away from the occasion, but Massey has asserted that Dundalk have their eyes firmly fixed on the prize.
"You can't take these days for granted," says Massey. "They are special days. It's the highlight of the football calendar in Ireland. We were down in town the other day collecting our suits and the place is buzzing. The atmosphere is fantastic. If you got sick of this, then you're in the wrong game.
"It's a great occasion. We have an opportunity to do the double; we can't forget that. The lads will be hungry to do it. We did it in 2015, it was a great night and it went down in history. The younger lads haven't done it.
"Last year, we lost to Cork, the celebrations on their behalf went on and our lads got a bit hurt by it. Everyone has that bit more experienced now. The teams know each other well to the point where we've really cancelled each other out, but if you can't get up for a game like this then you might as well go and do something else."
Massey was one of Stephen Kenny's signings and has been a mainstay of a successful period for the Louth club, with four title wins and two runner-up places in a six-year stint.
He's one of the few senior players that is out of contract and has been linked with Shamrock Rovers, yet there is a confidence around Dundalk that Massey will be retained.
The 30-year-old recently became a father for the first time and told the LOI Weekly podcast that he would have to factor that change of circumstances into any decision.
"I'll sit down and speak to the club after the cup final," he said. "I've loved my time here and I'm in no rush to go anywhere else."
Cork boss John Caulfield said earlier in the week that Dundalk's financial power was allowing them to dominate the Dublin market. Massey swatted that comment away, echoing Stephen Kenny's remarks about the geographical spread of the Dundalk dressing-room.
"When I first started out, there was two or three cars coming from Dublin," he said. "There's only one coming now - with myself, Seán Gannon, Robbie Benson and Seán Hoare. That's silly stuff."
Meanwhile, any hope of Northern Ireland U-21 boss Ian Baraclough being tempted by the vacant post at Derry City have been ended by his decision to sign a new contract.
For the full Massey interview and a chat with ex-Sligo Rovers manager Ger Lyttle about his departure from the club - and his interest in the Derry job - listen to LOI Weekly at independent.ie/podcasts