Sporting Fingal’s Alan Kirby – formerly an Johnville/Aston Villa trainee, Republic of Ireland underage starlet, and a Waterford United/St Patrick’s Athletic player – is a very happy 32-year-old at the present time.
He is still trying to come to grips with the fact that his present club have just clinched promotion to the Premier Division of the League of Ireland, and that he has also stored away his third FAI Cup winner’s medal. Alan, the son of the former Waterford FC player and assistant manager of Waterford United (to Johnny Matthews) Dave Kirby, spent part of last week back in the family home in Waterford and took time out to look back on what was a remarkable season for him.
“To be brutally honest, the past nine or 10 months have been extraordinary. When I was asked to join the club I had to think long and hard about it, because I was happy enough at St Patrick’s Athletic, but when the manager Liam Buckley told me the players he had signed and the players he wanted to sign I was very impressed indeed. The club is only two years old, and to win promotion and then the cup is incredible really. Since I came back for the Christmas break with my family, I have been reminded on a number of times that I now have three FAI Cup medals. To win a cup I believe you have to be pretty lucky. When I played against Waterford Utd in the 2004 final we were losing 1-0 with only about seven or eight minutes left, but we all know what happened then. That was a bittersweet victory for me for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was against my home town club and I felt sorry for John Frost and ‘Rennie’ [Alan Reynolds] that day, and the fact that I scored made it a strange day, but I was a Longford Town player and I had to do what I was paid to do.
“Winning the cup a few weeks ago was great because ‘Frostie’ [John Frost] did eventually get a winner’s medal, having lost deciders with St Patrick’s Athletic and of course Waterford Utd. The two of us have signed new one-year deals and now we have another Waterford lad, Kenny Browne, joining the club. He impressed me every time we played against Waterford last season, and will add greatly to our squad. I share a house with our centre-half Stephen Paisley, and he has just had an operation which could keep him out for a while, so Kenny will get a chance to nail down a first team place from the start of the season. I think he is joining Sporting Fingal because he wants to see how he will do in the Premier League. Had the Blues got promoted I believe he would have remained with Waterford.”
Going back to his latest FAI Cup success, Alan once again brought up the fact that luck plays a vital role in cup deciders. “Sligo Rovers looked nailed on because they led for a long time, but once again two late goals were good enough to win the game. We did not panic at any stage. Liam Buckley and his assistant John Devine are level-headed blokes and they told the lads to keep going and keep doing what we have been doing all season, so I suppose we got what we deserved at the end of the day.”
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.