A second half extra time strike from U19 striker Peter Durrad proved to be decisive as Liam Buckley's Saints advanced to the EA Sports Cup quarter-finals with a 3-2 win over Salthill Devon.
Durrad, making his first team debut as a second half substitute, was joined in the action by fellow U19 players Marco Chindea who made his first team debut as a substitute in extra time, while Liam Buckley gave a first start to Gavin Boyne in midfield.
For Boyne, who turned 18 last month, the chance to make a first senior start was a real boost having made an appearance for the Saints in a 5-0 league win over UCD last season. Having played in both defence and midfield for the U19's last season, the opportunity to play in the Saints' midfield was most welcome.
“We'd training last Sunday and Liam Buckley named the squad for the game and announced my name as starting in central midfield. It was surprising, but I was delighted as well as getting in with the first team is what we're all aiming for so it's nice to get a look in,” Boyne admitted to stpatsfc.com.
Match winner Durrad was full of praise for both the senior management and players for their help and advice, with the young striker paying tribute to their impact on his performance. “Ger [McDermott] said to me when I was coming on that that there was a goal there for me, and he kept on saying that to me so I was trying and trying,” Durrad told stpatsfc.com.
“Bisto [Anto Flood] was telling me what to do and showing the ropes. And when Jake Kelly got the ball on the wing, I knew exactly where it was going. He puts in some brilliant balls so I just ran front post and hit it in. To be honest, I don't think I could've hit it any better!”
Boyne further backed up Durrad's claims with the belief that further games and chances to line out alongside the senior players would help develop his game, and mean more first team involvement.
“In just playing with the senior side, you just learn new things. The atmosphere around the team is different to how we play in the under 19's. Playing alongside the likes of Shane McFaul in central mid, it's just amazing.”
“When you get in there, you just have to do your best to stay in there. I played on Monday and obviously tried to do my best as that's all I can do, so hopefully I can start a few more matches.”
For 18 year old Durrad though, the feeling of scoring the 113th minute winning goal in front of the away fans was the highlight of the night – the goal leaving Pat's only two games from the EA Sports Cup final.
“I was chuffed to score in front of the Pats crowd there as they made a good atmosphere, second half they kept singing and really kept the lads going. It was a really good feeling when I put the ball in and they went mad, so it was great.”