Padraig Amond: FA Cup top scorer targets Wembley play-off success

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For some the debate over whether Gabriel Jesus or Raheem Sterling scored Manchester City's second goal in the FA Cup final was a mere detail in the treble-clinching 6-0 rout of Watford.

But it was far from that for Newport County striker Padraig Amond.

Initially the goal was given to Sterling, but it was later confirmed Jesus' shot had already crossed the line before Sterling rifled home.

So Amond had to share the crown of FA Cup top scorer this season with the Brazilian, who also scored five times.

"I was watching the game on Saturday and I still think it's Sterling's goal! I've been robbed," Amond joked.

This weekend he will have the chance to play in his own final at Wembley, as County's top scorer leads the line against Tranmere Rovers in the League Two play-off final.

The 31-year-old Irishman has netted 23 goals this season.

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Amond scored in every round of Newport's FA Cup adventure including a winning penalty to beat Leicester City, plus a strike which sealed victory over Championship promotion chasers Middlesbrough.

And he signed off in the fifth round with a late consolation against eventual winners Manchester City at Rodney Parade.

"It's been a fantastic year for myself and all the lads. The FA Cup run was unbelievable, the furthest the club has ever been," he said.

"We got to the play-off final. It's been fantastic to be looking forward to this in the last week of May. Its been a long, long season but we are not ready for it to finish yet."

Wembley will be yet another huge occasion for Amond, who has a raft of high-profile games on his CV.

He was part of the Shamrock Rovers team which faced Real Madrid in 2009 when Cristiano Ronaldo made his debut.

During a spell with Portuguese club Pacos de Ferreira, Amond faced a Porto side which included Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Hulk.

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Before this campaign's FA Cup exploits, Amond scored against Tottenham in last season's competition to help County secure a fourth-round replay at Spurs' temporary Wembley home.

Now, having been a winner at Wembley in the 2016 National League play-off final with Grimsby, Amond faces another red-letter day. Is this his biggest game?

"I've been lucky enough to play in a few big games. For what it might mean afterwards, yes, definitely with what is at stake," he said.

"When you get a bit older you start to appreciate the games a bit more. When you are younger you let the moments pass you by, you don't take it in as much as you could."

Once again the exploits of Amond will be closely followed by friends and family in his hometown of Carlow, in the south east of Ireland, where Tully's Bar has offered free drinks for each goal scored by their favourite son during high-profile matches.

"I don't know if I have cost them a fortune or cost myself, because I got great publicity for them. I need to send them an invoice," Amond added.

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"They are brilliant people, I have said it a number of times they are great supporters of sport in Carlow and they have jumped on with us... I hope they will have a lot to celebrate back home."

And whatever happens against Tranmere, Amond has one more special match to anticipate this summer back home - his June marriage to partner Caoimhe Whelan.

"She has been leaving me be, especially this week, to try and keep my focus on the game. She's been doing brilliantly, we are both looking forward to it. Hopefully Saturday will be the start of a good summer for us."

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