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After a disappointing league campaign which was plagued by injuries, Derry head into the showpiece occasion of the domestic football calendar as underdogs but Declan Devine’s squad are hell-bent on adding silverware to the Brandywell trophy cabinet after narrowly missing out on Setanta Cup earlier in the season.
The Foylesiders finished sixteen points behind their cup final opponents in the league but will be buoyed by the fact they defeated Pats just two weeks ago.
Derry have an excellent recent record in the competition, having lifted the blue ribboned trophy twice in the last decade but have also experienced heartache on the big occasion after losing to Bohemians on penalties in 2008 at the RDS.
Derry boss Declan Devine is in the happy position of having a full strength squad to pick from but faces some agonising decisions on whether to go with youth or experience in certain positions.
He'll name his team on Saturday evening at a team meeting in their Dublin hotel having conducted a light training session in Derry this morning and had a walkabout at the Aviva Stadium this afternoon.
"It's a fantastic stadium and we don't want to leave anything to chance. Our young players will get an important feel of the place and we also hope to get into the dressing room area and have a good look around," said Devine. "Over the past few weeks I've been involved with a very happy group of players who, I must admit, are totally relaxed and all eagerly looking forward to the game at hand."
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
St Pats will be hoping to end their 51 year wait for cup success this weekend at the Aviva Stadium. The Saints have suffered defeat in the final on six occasions since their last triumph in 1961 and are desperate to end their infamous cup famine.
The Inchicore side come into the final on the back of a successful season which saw them run league champions Sligo Rovers all the way as well as having a lengthy Europa League campaign.
St Pat's boss Liam Buckley heaved a big sigh of relief this week when goalkeeper Barry Murphy came through a fitness test on the injured ankle which caused him to miss their final league game against Cork City. But Murphy, who saved three penalties in St Pat's quarter-final penalty shootout victory over Drogheda United, now faces an anxious wait to see if he makes the starting line-up after Brendan Clarke kept a clean sheet in the win over Cork.
Mark Rossiter will miss out on the final as he continues to recover from a knee injury originally picked up against Derry last May, while Darren Meenan is also ruled out due to a shoulder problem. Greg Bolger remains a doubt with an ankle problem, though Buckley is hopeful he will be available.
"Everyone is looking forward to Sunday, these are the games all players dream about, train hard and work towards," said Saints manager Buckley. "For the neutrals it will be a great game to watch as Derry are an attacking side, while we always go out to win as well. I'd expect some good football to be on show, so hopefully we can get our support out to the Aviva to cheer us on as they really showed they are our 12th man in the earlier rounds of the cup against Drogheda and Dundalk when we got through some hard matches." He added.
The FAI have confirmed tickets priced at €10 for adults and just €5 for children will be available right up till kick off at various locations around the ground on Sunday afternoon.
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Derry have won in two of the three FAI Cup finals they have played at Lansdowne Road.
Only three of the finals played since 1990 have been decided by more than one goal.
Just two of the last six finals have been decided in ninety minutes and three of the last four finals have required penalties.
Derry City 11/4; Draw 11/5; St. Patrick’s Athletic 21/20.
Derry City Injury News: None.
Derry City Suspension News: None.
St Patrick’s Atheltic Injury News: Mark Rossister (Knee), Darren Meenan (shoulder), Greg Bolger (doubt).
St Patrick’s Athletic Suspension News: None.