DERRY City Football Club started the 2013 City of Culture celebrations early at the Aviva Statium in Dublin today when they beat St Pat’s 3-2 in a thrilling FAI Cup final after extra-time.
DERRY CITY . . . . . . . . . 3
ST. PAT’S ATH. . . . . . . .2
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
Substitute Rory Patterson was the hero, and the man of the match, scoring a second half penalty and then the winner in extra-time.
All in all, the match called to mind the excitement generated by this pairing back in 2006 when Derry clinched the cup following on a 4-3 scoreline.
After a first half which offered very little by way of clear-cut chances, the second period exploded into action and this game stayed in the balance right up to the final whistle.
It was an amazing turnaround with Pat’s breaking the deadlock, Derry equalising within two minutes and then leading 2-1 up until the 86th minute when the Dubliners restored equality, forcing extra-time.
It was a lack-lustre opening half, with St Pat’s having the better of things. Davy McDaid was presented with Derry’s best chance but his spectacular bicycle kick five minutes before half-time failed to hit the target.
St. Pat’s appeared the more dangerous when moving forward and in the 34th minute they squandered what appeared a glorious chance. Sean O’Connor clipped a teasing cross in from the left but Jake Kelly failed to hit the target with his header, the ball sailing harmlessly over the crossbar.
The nerves from both teams disappeared during the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
In the 52nd minute, Dermot McCaffrey made fouled Chris Forrester to give Pat’s a free in a dangerous position. And Derry fears proved well-founded when Sean O’Connor curled a superb left foot shot to the left of Gerard Doherty to make it 1-0.
But Derry hit back within two minutes and the equaliser emanated from another set-piece situation.
Stephen McLaughlin was fouled wide on the right and when McNamee delivered the ball Stewart Greacen rose majestically to divert it to the net with a powerful header.
The game continued to ebb and flow with former Derry defender, Ger O’Brien, forcing Doherty into a save in the 65th minute from another free as the Dubliners began to recover from Derry’s immediate equaliser.
But it was the Candy Stripes who netted a second goal which was fashioned by the determination of winger, Stephen McLaughlin.
Having chased down what appeared a lost cause in the 67th minute, McLaughlin intercepted keeper Brendan Clarke’s attempted pass, and as he challenged for the ball Clarke seemed to push him to the ground with referee pointing to the spot.
Up stepped substitute Rory Patterson to drive the ball home, right down the throat of the Derry City support behind the the goal.
And Derry really should have put this game to bed in the 75th minute following another superb break by McLaughlin.
But with McDaid and McNamee racing up to join him, the Inishowen lad went it alone and his effort was blocked. The ball then broke to McDaid who failed to hit the target while McNamee’s effort was also charged down and another superb chance was lost.
Refusing to give up their hopes of ending a 51 year hoodoo since last lifting this trophy, St. Pat’s sensationally equalised in the 86th minute and their supporters went wild with delight.
A cross from the left was intercepted by Shane McEleney who forced his own keeper int Doherty into a vital save, but when the loose ball was put back into the six yard box by O’Connor, Christy Fagan was on hand to drive it home from point blank range and Pat’s had pulled the game out of the fire.
With players from both side dropping like flies due to cramp during the ear.ly stages of extra time, Derry struck a vital blow in the 104th minute, a goal which will have hurt St. Pat’s.
It came from a ‘Route One’ approach, with Doherty’s launch headed on by substitute Ruaidhri Higgins and Patterson racing onto the loose ball to finish to the net. The big Candy Stripe support was back in full voice, and they were still singing at the end to mark another famous victory and then cheer the Derry manager Declan Devine and his squad on their way up to receive the FAI Cup.
Derry City – Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Shane McEleney, Stewart Greacen (Ryan McBride, 98), Dermot McCaffrey; Barry Molloy, Kevin Deery; Patrick McEleney (Rory Patterson, 58), Barry McNamee (Ruaidhri Higgins 80), Stephen McLaughlin; David McDaid.
St. Pat’s Athletic – Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien (Pat Flynn, 115), Kenny Browne, Conor Kenny, James Chambers; Chris Forester, Jake Carroll (John Russell, 23), Jake Kelly (Vinny Faherty, h/t); Christy Fagan.
Referee – Mr. Neil Doyle (Dublin)
Don’t miss full coverage from Arthur Duffy and Simon Collins in Dublin, reaction and lots of pics in Tuesday’s Derry Journal.