FAI CUP: Patterson wants to ease Dundalk’s fixture congestion with cup win

Rory Patterson of Derry City shoots to score his side's first goal during the superb comeback in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup Semi-Final match against Dundalk.

Rory Patterson of Derry City shoots to score his side's first goal during the superb comeback in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup Semi-Final match against Dundalk.

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RORY Patterson has little sympathy for Dundalk’s hectic fixture schedule, claiming the Cup holders will be delighted to further extend their season by reaching the 2016 FAI Cup Final on November 6th.

The striker, who took his season’s tally to 15 goals with the goal which kick-started the stunning comeback at Oriel Park on Sunday afternoon, doesn’t expect the quick turnaround to have any ill effect on Dundalk, but he’s determined to end their reign tonight.

The Derry players showed how much the competition means to them by producing a terrific performance to keep alive their hopes of meeting Cork in the end of season decider at the Aviva Stadium.

And Patterson is hoping his teammates can reproduce that mammoth effort tonight and finish the job against Stephen Kenny’s charges.

“It’s the pinnacle cup competition in the country and you’re playing at the Aviva,” said Patterson. “A few of us have sampled it before like Ryan McBride, Baz (Barry McNamee) and Gerard (Doherty) while ‘Badger’ (Conor McCormack) has played with other clubs in it. We know the sort of day it is, the lead up to it and we want to experience that again.”

And whatever team Dundalk select tonight, Patterson knows they’ll be faced with another tough battle.

“(Stephen) Kenny is not going to just roll out the cup and send his youth team up. He’s going to try and win it. He’s done an unreal job with the European run but that’s what it takes to be the best, you’re going to have a crazy fixture schedule and it’s unlucky for them but they just have to deal with it. The replay doesn’t suit any team. We only have tomorrow (Monday) to recover then it’s back on the pitch again. It has to be done, it has to be played. It’s probably worse for them but they have the squad to make the changes.

“If anyone’s feeling the effects they have the replacements. There was boys that didn’t even strip out that have been playing all season so in that sense I don’t think it will harm them.”

The Strabane man was delighted to get on the scoresheet again with such an important strike, even if it wasn’t his prettiest of goals.

“For us to go two nil down we didn’t want to just limp out of the cup, especially with it being on TV and there was a few choice words said at half-time. There was no way we were going to come out and just give them the game and let them waltz through. We knew we had to get a goal sharpish.

There was no way we were going to come out and just give them the game and let them waltz through. We knew we had to get a goal sharpish.

Rory Patterson

“I had a header and I don’t know how he saved it. As soon as it left my head I thought it was in. But that’s why they’re the best team in the country - they know how to grind out results.

“They have good players and they’re a good team but we knew if we had of got the goal we would have had a good chance in the last 15 or 20 minutes to get something.”

Reflecting back on his goal, Patterson had thought he heard the fourth official rule his effort out.

“I saw the keeper was at full stretch and got a touch to it and he wasn’t going to get up in time to gather it so I just gambled. I thought I heard the fourth official say ‘no goal’ but thankfully it gave us a wee boost to go.

“I know what I can do and I know what I’m still capable of and obviously Kenny wouldn’t keep playing me if he didn’t think I was up to it.

“It was probably the closest goal I’ve ever scored but I’ll take it,” he smiled.

“We just kept plugging away and we knew if we had of got the goal it would be a tight finish for them.

“We did that and I think we definitely deserved the replay.”