Kelly Excited For Cup Final in ‘Back Garden’
Dundalk go in search of completing the treble on Sunday afternoon as they take on Shamrock Rovers in the extra.ie FAI Cup Final.
The Lilywhites have had a scintillating season in winning the league and the EA SPORTS Cup back in September.
One of the players to make an instant impact this season has been new recruit Daniel Kelly and he spoke to dundalkfc.com ahead of the clash and he admitted his excitement at lining out in Dublin 4.
“It’s very exciting. I feel like I should have been there last year with Bohemians but I am looking forward to this one. I have been speaking to the lads about it all week and it’s great,” said Kelly.
“It’s going to be a great occasion on Sunday. It always is the Cup final so we are all looking forward to it and we want to go there and win.
“It’s going to be a good day and we want to carry our form into it and make history.”
The Lilywhites finished their league of Ireland campaign last Friday with a 4-0 victory over St. Patrick’s Athletic at Oriel Park.
Vinny Perth’s men put in a superb display to end the campaign with three points and an unbeaten home record in 2019.
Kelly wants to bring that performance into Sunday and feels the return of all squad members at ‘the right time’ could prove crucial.
“I thought that we were very good last Friday. We put in a good performance on the night to get the win and we were pleased with how we played,” said the 23-year-old.
“Also we have a lot of players coming back from injury at the right time and we have such a strong squad, we have options all over the pitch which is good going into a match like Sunday.
“It’s good to have everyone back, we have most in good form which is great and just at the right time.”
Dundalk are in their fifth Cup Final in succession and will be bidding to retain the trophy which they took down the M1 last November.
Kelly’s goals have helped Dundalk get to the final as he found the net against Derry City and a superb hat-trick against Waterford in the earlier rounds.
The match is of course at the AVIVA Stadium which happens to be a home match for the winger as he lives in the shadow of Lansdowne Road.
“This is my first FAI Cup Final as a player and it’s in my back garden! It’s going to be a great occasion for me and my family as well. I can’t wait for it,” said Kelly.
“It’s the showpiece of the year. The league is the top honour but it’s amazing and I have been talking to everyone here, it’s something that you cherish forever and they say that there’s no better day than Cup final day.
“I am hoping that is the case and looking forward to the day. “
It is the top two teams in the country for the past five seasons have contested the final day on the Irish football calendar.
That has been Dundalk and Cork City since 2015 however this year we have new opponents in Shamrock Rovers and that is something Kelly is looking forward to, but he warns that the Hoops are a good side and that previous form will count for nothing come 3.40 pm on Sunday.
“We know the test that presents itself on Sunday. It’s going to be such a tough game – Shamrock Rovers are such a good side and they have brilliant players,” said the Ringsend native.
“We have done well against them this year and they have caused us a few problems in those matches. Our wins will count for nothing come Sunday so we will need to be ready.
“It’s the two best teams in the country in the final again which is good for the game here and both of us will be at it. We will be going to win the game, we won’t change our style.
“We will be going to win the cup, hopefully we can retain the trophy and get the treble. That is what we are aiming for and we are confident that we can do it.”