Ian Bermingham: 'Football in Ireland is starting to capture the imagination"Mon, Nov 29 2021
Seán O’Connor reports from the Aviva Stadium
The Aviva Stadium attendance record for FAI Cup finals was broken on Sunday, as 37,126 supporters flocked to Lansdowne Road to see the first all-Dublin final in 21 years. extratime.com asked St. Pats captain Ian Bermingham to give his thoughts on the record-breaking crowd on Sunday.
“Football in Ireland is starting to capture the imagination with the senior Ireland team, Stephen Kenny being a League of Ireland man,” Bermingham said.
“I think there's a bigger interest in the League of Ireland with players going onto international teams. We have a few lads who can possibly get international honours and go onto the next level.
“It’s the quality of the players. It’s a very young league now compared to when I came in. The younger players play with no fear. We have really exciting players. I hope it keeps growing and growing.
“It was a brilliant atmosphere and arena out there to play in today. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come. Hopefully the attendances can get better because it’s a brilliant league and there's some serious quality in it.”
The 32-year-old praised the impact of head coach Stephen O’Donnell, who arrived at the club in August 2019 and this year, led his side to second place in the league, their best finish since 2013.
“We had been on a slip for a number of years,” Bermingham said.
“The manager coming in has revitalised me. Certain things in the club weren't working. We were not doing well, and I was getting frustrated more than anything. When the manager came in, immediately there was a change of mentality.
“I'm thriving on it. I love going into training and I’m learning all the time. Every single player in that dressing room trusts him. I’m just delighted.
"To come back and captain this team is an absolute honour to lead them out in the Aviva for this club in a cup final. It was the proudest day in my football career.”
Bermingham, who is St. Pat’s longest serving player after signing from Shamrock Rovers in 2010, told the media how this weekend has been the best of the defender's life.
“I had my first child on Friday,” Birmingham said.
“All my dreams came true in a weekend. I can't believe it to be honest. It's the best weekend of my life. My partner Leaha had the baby on Friday evening. I just video-called her there. I think they watched the game at home and saw me lift the trophy. I’m buzzing.”
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