'It's important to enjoy the build-up to a cup final because you never know when it will happen again'

'It's important to enjoy the build-up to a cup final because you never know when it will happen again'
Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

THIS is the fourth year in a row for Cork City to reach the FAI Cup final, with Cork Athletic in 1950-53 the only other Leeside club to match that achievement.

Victory against Dundalk on Sunday would make the Rebel Army the first Cork club to win three in a row, but midfielder Gearóid Morrissey doesn’t take the Aviva Stadium in November for granted.

“You have to relish it,” he says, “I know it’s the fourth one in a row, but it could also be the last one. We might have four more after it, you just don’t know.

“You really can’t take it for granted because no one knows what the future holds. You have to relish the build-up, the day itself, the whole lot. Going into local shops and people are wishing you all the best, you take it in your stride because it’s all about the game.

“But it’s important to remember to enjoy all that as well because you might not get the chance again.”

Two years ago, City went into the final in the same scenario as this week, seeking to deny Dundalk a double. Victory was seen as a major stepping stone towards the 2017 title win and Morrissey is optimistic that something similar can transpire this time round.

“It’s extremely important because it would give us a bit of momentum going into next season,” he says.

“We’ll be back in doing programmes in December so it’ll still be fresh in the mind. The positivity that comes from winning the cup, it would be great to carry that forward into pre-season and then into the start of the league.

“It’s massively important in that respect, but also for this season obviously.”

Gearóid Morrissey wins the ball from Shamrock Rovers' Dan Carr back in March. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Gearóid Morrissey wins the ball from Shamrock Rovers' Dan Carr back in March. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

City will certainly be hoping to put up a stronger fight than in the league game at Turner’s Cross in September when the Lilywhites took a 1-0 win at their ease.

“I couldn’t put my finger on it,” Morrissey says.

“You try to make sure that every detail leading up to a game is right, that all helps towards your focus but it just felt like we weren’t ourselves. Our identity was a bit different on the day.

“Was it in the back of fellas’ heads that the league was realistically gone? Who knows? But we definitely made it way too easy for them, especially considering how difficult we’ve made every other game for them. That was very disappointing.

“Fair enough, you can lose a game, but to lose it in that manner — where they’re almost comfortable— was probably the hardest part. You have to use that and learn from it, which is what we’ll be doing going into Sunday.”

And visualising the homecoming on Monday night?

“They say success breeds success and that’s one of the main factors of it,” he says.

“You’ve already achieved it, so you know you can do it again. It’s positive re-enforcement. What’s the alternative? You start going the other way and thinking, ‘What if we don’t win?’ That’s a complete waste of time. It doesn’t help anybody.

“It’s not that you’re thinking it’s definitely going to happen and we’re going to be on Grand Parade with the cup in front of all the supporters. But you do have to think about that because it incentivises you and gives you the boost you need. It’s a brilliant feeling when the people of Cork are out to support you. Naturally you want that again.

“The little steps you go through individually leading up to games are important. That’d be one of them for me. I think it all helps.”

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