McEneff ready to put friendships aside to fire Rovers to Cup glory

McEneff ready to put friendships aside to fire Rovers to Cup glory

Being a Derry man, you might think that Aaron McEneff has an extra reason to beat Dundalk this Sunday.

Should Vinny Perth’s side get the better of Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup final then they will equal the feat of Jim McLaughlin’s Derry City side from 1989 who are currently the only team in Irish football to win a domestic treble.

While that is of immense pride to the people of Derry, most of whom will be cheering on Rovers on Sunday as as result, McEneff told The Argus in the build-up to the big game that he’s simply out to get the win for himself.

“I’ve had a few messages and stuff but there’s a few Derry lads who are mates of mine playing for Dundalk as well so I’m sure there’ll be Derry people supporting both teams that day,” he said.

“That’s not really in my mind to go and stop a treble. I just want to win the Cup for us as a team. People might say it’s an extra motivation to stop a treble but we’re not really looking at it that way. We just want to focus on ourselves and prepare for Dundalk and work out how we’re going to beat them. The treble thing is at the back of our minds really.”

Having got his first taste of silverware with Derry last season when they beat Cobh Ramblers in the EA Sports Cup final at the Brandywell, McEneff said he is hungry for more medals.

“That was my first senior trophy as a player and winning that last year in the Brandywell was a great feeling. That was a good day with family and stuff there so that gave me a taste of a Cup final but obviously this final is going to be a lot bigger and I’m sure it’ll be a lot better.

“It’s going to be a great occasion because the way this year has panned out, it’s the two best teams in the country so it is all set up for a good game of football and a good day out.

“It’s a lot tougher to win the league and fair play to Dundalk they did it this year but the FAI Cup is the biggest day of football all year really. It’s a great day for everyone’s family and for the fans as well. I’m sure Shamrock Rovers fans will come out in their numbers and Dundalk fans will come out in their numbers. I’ve been to finals myself. I think the last one was the final between Derry and Pat’s and it was unbelievable.”

McEneff has a number of close friends in the Dundalk side but he said friendships will go out the window come kick-off on Sunday

“I would know Patrick McEleney, Dean Jarvis and Mickey Duffy really well because I’ve played with them all at some stage of my career. They’re all good lads but when you cross the white line I’m not saying friendship goes out the window but it’s a professional game and you’re going out to do a job for your team on that day.

“I get on with all the Derry lads at Dundalk but I’m sure both sets of players will just be focused on themselves that day and we can talk about the game after.

“It’s these kind of games that players strive for. I’m absolutely buzzing for it and just looking forward to getting out there now. It has been a good enough year for me in my first year here and it would be nice to finish it with a bit of silverware. You can be a good team and play nice football but they’ll only really remember you if you win silverware and people only remember the winners in Cup finals,” said the 24-year-old.