Derry City clawed their way back into the FAI Carlsberg Cup Final three times to turn a thrilling game on its head and claim an extra-time victory.
The last soccer fixture at Lansdowne Road produced a wonderful spectacle and in the end, it was an own-goal by Pats defender Stephen Brennan ten minutes from the end of extra-time that decided the destiny of the Cup.
Pats looked to be on their way to ending their 45-yard FAI Cup drought but victory was wrenched from their hands in the cruellest of fashions.
They led three times in the game, once in each half, as well as in extra-time when it looked like Sean O'Connor's goal to make it 3-2 would be enough to secure them their first piece of silverware during Johnny McDonnell's tenure as boss at Inchicore.
However, the Candystripes have displayed their character in numerous situations already this season in winning the eircom league Cup and taking runners-up in the League and it was that sort of diligence they applied when the Cup was slipping from their grasp.
Skipper Peter Hutton was awarded the man of the match and he spoke after the game of the great attitude demonstrated by the players.
“We have a never-say-die attitude and you need that in Cup Finals. Our fans have travelled across Europe to support us and they were here again today in their droves despite the terrible conditions.”
Derry boss Stephen Kenny, managing the side for the last time before returning again to concentrate on managing at SPL side Dunfermline, said in the wake of the final whistle:
“It was a classic final; normally they finish 1-0 but it was great to be part of today's game. Pats were fantastic and I thought the game was getting away from us when we conceded the penalty in the second half. All credit to our players, they came back and it's not the first time they've done that this season.”
Derry winger Pat McCourt has been instrumental in their success this term and he lined up in his familiar position on the left-side. Pats aimed to nullify his threat by double-marking the flanker in the first half, deploying Anthony Murphy on the right-side of five-man defence and Stephen Quigley just behind.
Pats began the brighter, with midfielder Michael Foley controlling matters. His left-foot was the source of most Saints attacks and he delivered a free-kick after eight minutes that signalled the first signal of alarm in the Derry defence.
The strong wind ensured the free, from midway in the Derry half, landed into the box and defender Clive Delaney took no chances, heading the ball out for the first corner of the match.
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