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'Big game players' will decide final - Baraclough

Updated: Saturday, 10 May 2014 15:26 | Comments

Sligo Rovers will hope their recent cup successes will inspire them to their first Setanta Sports Cup title
Sligo Rovers will hope their recent cup successes will inspire them to their first Setanta Sports Cup title

Sligo Rovers take on Dundalk in this afternoon’s Setanta Sports Cup final at Tallaght Stadium, kick-off 4.00pm.

The Bit O'Red are competing in their first ever Setanta decider but must plan without injured pair Raffaele Cretaro and Gavin Peers.

Looking ahead to the Tallaght Stadium decider, Sligo boss Ian Baraclough said: “It’s two sets of players that have a hunger and desire to win trophies and games of football. People can say we have experience, which we have so hopefully in the build-up it will help. But I think when you get a cup final, form goes out the window, although you actually have two in-form teams as such.

“Whoever deal with occasion better on the day (will win) so you just hope that your big game players will step up to the fore and drive you to victory.

“We are coming into it on a high. Even the St Pat's game, we only got a point from it but there was some great football played on that evening. It could have gone either way. It was probably a fair result.

“We've built steadily. We've started to put that together and punish teams for not being able to cope with us and hopefully we can bring that game to Tallaght.”

Dundalk will also be hoping to carry their excellent league form into the cup final and manager Stephen Kenny has a strong squad to choose from, with only long-term absentee Stephen O’Donnell unavailable.

And Kenny is in the enviable position of having a selection headache ahead of the trip to Tallaght thanks to the good form of his entire squad in recent weeks.

Kenny said: “They have left me with a selection dilemma for the match but it is a good headache to have. We have had good preparation for the game and had a great win against Cork City last Friday so it has been good week for us.”

“The players have been terrific for me since they have come in at Oriel Park. We have put huge demands on them and they have responded brilliantly. It has been a tough run of games for the players but I can’t fault them. They have put everything into it and deserve to be in the final.

“It is a big deal to these players and some of them are playing in their first senior final and it is a testament to their effort and desire that they have got here.

“We know we are playing a very good Sligo Rovers team. They are a side who play good football and are on a good run of form. We will have to go there and continue the form that we have been in recently.

“The match we played in the league will have no bearing on Saturday. It is a totally different game but we are confident going into it. We have no right to win any match, in particular a final. We will have to earn the victory. Nothing comes easy in football so we know that we will have to go and earn the win.”

The two sides met in the league back in March with Dundalk enjoying a 1-0 victory away at The Showgrounds.

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