Kilmore out to upset the odds against cup kings North End
Published 21/05/2016 | 00:00
Kilmore United and North End United go head to head in the Wexford Volkswagen Cup final at 3 p.m. on Sunday in Ferrycarrig Park in what's promises to be a colourful occasion.
It's a real David versus Goliath battle and the rural club will be hoping to perform a giant-killing act on their highly-decorated Wexford town rivals.
The teams might ply their trade in the same division in the Wexford League but like Liverpool and Wimbledon in the 1988 FA Cup final they are poles apart in terms of standing and silverware.
Kilmore United, who are lining out in their first ever Wexford Cup final, will be hoping to emulate Bobby Gould's team, while North End have won it an incredible ten times.
John Godkin has been at the helm for eight on those triumphs and will be on cloud nine should the Sky Blues add another to that impressive tally.
Having finally surrendered their Premier Division crown on Sunday after bringing it right down to the wire the Hollygrove outfit will be hoping to bounce back quickly
'It's been a very disappointing season. I was at the FAI Junior Cup final in the Aviva and to be honest that's the level we were pushing to be at again. We got beaten by Sheriff in the last 16 of the FAI Cup and they went on to win it and we beat Pike Rovers in the last 16 last year and they reached the final this year. That's how close we are,' said Godkin.
Many would look at the defection of star man Paul Murphy to Wexford Youths as one of the major contributing factors to North End's travails but the manager says injuries have also taken a heavy toll this season.
'Nine of our squad have played less than half the season through injury. Losing Paul Murphy was only a small part of the problem. If I'd have had everybody else fit I definitely think we would have been good enough. We took four points off Shamrock Rovers, if we hadn't so many players out we'd have done well domestically.
'Shamrock Rovers have had a good run this year. We lost one game in the league for the season so it probably says a lot about the other teams, other than us and Rovers. Usually if you only drop nine points you'll win a league, but unfortunately this year it wasn't enough,' he said.
The injury worries continue to plague the Wexford town side, with Shane Dempsey being stretchered off against Courtown on Sunday and John Fenlon and Kyle Dempsey doubtful for the final, while the loss of captain Jason Murphy and Lee Wadding through suspension is also big blow for the Belvedere Road side.
The pressure is certainly on North End to perform and Godkin backs up the belief that it's a game they really have to win.
'If we don't win our season will be a major disappointment, so it's our one chance of finishing the season on a bit of a high. So we'll be very determined to try and put ourselves in the history books.
'They'll have all the neutral support behind them. They're a decent side with good players. We beat them twice in the league but that counts for nothing next Sunday,' he said.
Kilmore, on the other hand, will be able to approach the game without any overbearing sense of expectancy.
The Ballyseskin-based side, who won the Neil O'Sullivan Cup in 2012, are going into Sunday's showpiece with nothing to lose and are sure to have strong backing from a vocal support.
'The whole community are excited because the women are in a cup final the following week, so there's a bit of buzz around the club at the moment. The flags will be up and we'll be all red and white in Kilmore by next Sunday,' said club secretary Brian Furlong.
Kilmore, who have joint-managers James Lowry and Sean Bates steering the ship, expect to have a full bill of health for the biggest game in the club's history.
'There's a few niggling injuries but they should be all fine and good to go for the final,' said Brian.
When asked does he fancy Kilmore's chances Brian could be accused of being coy.
'Well we've nothing to lose', he laughed. 'There's no pressure on our lads, we're the underdogs, but if we play like we can you never know. North End will definitely be up for it, but we'll give it our best shot.'
Their best shot will definitely be needed if they are to topple the cup giants, but like Lawrie Sanchez and Dave Beasant for Wimbledon in 1988 heroes could be waiting for their moment to shine.
It should be an intriguing contest and a fantastic occasion but North End's experience, class and determination to end a disappointing season on a high should tell.