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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Aidan Fitzmaurice

Brendan Clarke: FAI Cup final loss can’t distract from season’s success for Shels

Shelbourne goalkeeper Brendan Clarke makes a save during Sunday's FAI Cup final defeat to Derry City. Photo: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

Shelbourne ’keeper Brendan Clarke believes the Reds are entitled to class the 2022 season as a success despite their heavy defeat to Derry City in the FAI Cup final. And the 37-year-old wants to play a part again next season and prove that, just like title-winning ’keeper Alan Mannus (41), there is a role for the veteran goalkeeper.

Shels rounded off their season with that 4-0 loss to Derry, a record winning margin for a Cup final, but Clarke maintains that the squad can look back on the term with pride.

“I think this year has been a success. There was a stage where we were pushing and starting to dream of maybe a European finish,” he says.

“But look at the year as a whole, how the group have grown, the staff and players, as a unit, there is no reason why this club can’t go on and push on and be more successful in the coming years.

“When the dust settles and when you look back on the season as a whole, there is a hell of a lot to be proud of,” added Clarke.

“There are 18 squads around the league who were finished, on their holidays and would have given anything to swap with us. We’ll take the positives from the experience of the occasion, especially for the younger lads in the group, they’ll only get a taste of what it takes. Watching the Derry boys celebrating, that will hurt them, and that will kick them on and push for days like that for their own careers.”

Clarke, who began the season as second-choice but took over after seven games, is out of contract now but eager to stay on. 

“When I first signed for Shels at the start of 2021, I’d kind of fallen out of love with the game from the previous year. It gave me, it’s given me a real motivation to keep playing and I still think I can bring a lot to this group. I think Alan Mannus still doing his business at 41 is doing wonders for me. There are no plans for me to stop playing.”

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