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Derry manager Peter Hutton asks, make mine a treble


Old head: Derry City boss Peter Hutton is involved in his seventh FAI Cup final but his first as a manager.

Old head: Derry City boss Peter Hutton is involved in his seventh FAI Cup final but his first as a manager.

©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty

Old head: Derry City boss Peter Hutton is involved in his seventh FAI Cup final but his first as a manager.

On the 25th anniversary of Derry City's most successful year, Peter Hutton is hoping to lead the club to their own particular treble on Sunday: a third FAI Cup final victory over St. Patrick's Athletic in just nine years. Back in 1989, Jim McLaughlin and his Candystripes won the league title, the League Cup and the FAI Cup. No club has emulated that success since and their achievements will be honoured prior to Sunday's game at the Aviva Stadium.

City won both previous finals against St Pat's, in 2006 and 2012, and Hutton sees no reason why victory number three cannot come to fruition.

"Lansdowne Road and Derry City have a good tradition," he explained.

"We've done more good than bad there. Whenever the final has been played elsewhere we haven't done so well.

"Both teams have seven players who were involved in the 2012 final so we will have all experienced the Aviva."

"Our league form has been very poor, but it's a cup final and form goes out the window and it's on the day, who performs to their capabilities.

"Hopefully the team rises to the occasion."

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Hutton is no stranger to FAI Cup finals. When he leads Derry City out on Sunday, it will be his seventh showdown, but there's one big difference this time; this is his first as a manager.

Keeping 20 players happy instead of one is much more demanding for the Derry City legend, who won three FAI Cups as a player.

"It's completely different," he admitted.

"As a player you're selfish in regard to just being concerned with yourself and making sure you're prepared right both mentally and physically, whereas as manager you have to make sure the group, both collectively and individually, are focused and prepared and nothing is left to chance.

"As well as that, you have to sort hotels and times of pre-match training etc."

The FAI Cup has brought its share of good memories and bad to the Hutton household, with defeats in 1994, 1997 and again in 2008, but the good memories outweigh the bad, with Hutton winning his first cup in 1995 before scoring goals in the wins of 2002 and 2006.

That game against St. Patrick's Athletic eight years ago, the last game played at the old Lansdowne Road Stadium, was recently voted the 'Greatest FAI Cup final ever' and Hutton admitted it was a memorable day.

"It was crazy," he said. "If it had been a normal game I don't think it would have taken place, but the fact there were thousands travelling in their droves from Derry, they wanted the game on.

"Both teams tried to play decent football on the day and it was a thrilling and entertaining game. It spoke for itself that we were able to come back three times and thankfully take the lead and hold on."

To achieve their goal this time around, Derry City will have to dig deep against a Pat's side they have failed to defeat on three occasions in 2014. Last year's league champions are desperate to end their 53-year wait for the trophy and end a run of eight successive FAI Cup final defeats. It could be now or never for Liam Buckley's multi-talented side.

"Pat's are a very good side," Hutton acknowledged. "I admire the way Liam Buckley sets his teams up because they are very easy on the eye. They play good football and they have quality throughout, particularly the midfield trio of Bolger, Brennan and Fahey.

"On the flanks they have Forrester, Conan Byrne and Chris Fagan, who have chipped in with goals, but they have quality throughout and have threats all over the park. We know that.

"We have had good tussles with them this year; the latest of which in the Brandywell we lost 1-0, but we certainly deserved something from the game.

"We battered them for the second half, but just couldn't take our chances. Rory Patterson was suspended, but we created numerous chances and Brendan Clarke was inspired that night. It gives us good food for thought because it shows that we can certainly hurt them and get in behind them."

With both teams sharing 12 goals in the last two finals and neither particularly impressive defensively, it is expected that Sunday's final could be another goal-fest.

"Neither team is overly defensive," Hutton agreed.

"Both teams are similar in the sense that they both like to get it down and play and they are both attack minded.

"I think it will be a fairly open game, and if anything, at the Aviva, with the big open pitch, it should suit both teams.

"I think it will be fairly even and open."

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