As I watched Derry manager Declan Devine shake hands with fans and friends before the game, I got the feeling that this was going to be our day.
Footballers (even old ones like me) are a superstitious lot but more often than not that feeliing in the gut turns out to be right. Not that you’d have known that in the first half of disjointed play, with any football on show being played by St Pat’s though they never managed to open up a resolute Derry defence.
The second half was a cracker with both teams having spells of domination but Derry’s hunger ultimately seeing them through.
The Dublin side opened the scoring with a brilliant left-footed free from O’Connor. The red-and-white army were temporarily silenced but not for long, as up stepped big Stewart Graecen within minutes to power home a header from a superb McNamee free.
Rory Patterson’s entrance to the field of play meant Derry now had a proven goalscorer to back up the hard-working McDaid and that worked a treat. As play switched back and forth, the Pat’s keeper Clarke conceded a needless penalty and nerves of steel Patterson duly slotted home.
The red and white hordes chanted their DCFC mantra, but St Pat’s stuck to their task and deservedly equalised with minutes remaining.
So extra-time, and that man Patterson popped up againt slot home what was surely the winner.
It was a great final in the end after a slow start, and the victory was a just reward for a manager sometimes under pressure who kept faith with his players. On Sunday they repaid him.
They are many people who made this victory parade possible but for now the moment belongs to Declan, Higgsy, the coaching and backroom staff and of course the players.
P.S. Funny how the journey home after a victory always seems so much shorter.