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Even though St Pats were held to a 1-1 draw the night belonged to them as they collected the Airtricity League trophy, their first in 14 years.
The Saints had super sub Anto Flood to thank for salvaging a draw, with one of the strikes of the season, after Barry McNamee’s first-half goal looked set to put a dampener on the party.
Liam Buckley made six changes from the team who beat Sligo Rovers last week to clinch the title and it was his slightly inexperienced side which started the better.
Buckley took this game as an opportunity to give a start to Pats’ youngsters Sean Gannon and Jake Kelly who took their places either side of Christy Fagan in a three man attack.
Playing keep ball in the middle was midfield trio Shane McFaul, Killian Brennan and Chris Forrestor who were at the heart of everything good in the opening 20 minutes for The Saints.
Derry, to their credit, were solid throughout even though they were under pressure for large periods of the game. Barry McNamee was a central figure in the visiting midfield.
Both keepers were put through their paces in a frenetic five minutes, with 90 seconds on the clock Sean Gannon saw an effort acrobatically tipped round the post by Ger Doherty and at the other end Brendan Clarke denied Michael Rafter from close range.
The Candystripes’ message, from manager Declan Devine, was to contain St Patricks Athletic and break at speed and this tactic paid off when the rock hard Saints’ defence was breached.
With 34 minutes on the clock Derry worked the ball well down the right wing and Ryan Curran pulled the ball across the box to the unmarked Barry McNamee who took a touch before slotting the ball under the body of the diving Brendan Clarke, a confident strike from eight yards out.
Saints’ manager Liam Buckley will have been happy with the contribution his inexperienced attack made, to an extent.
After the break Buckley turned to Conan Byrne and John Russell to turn the tide.
It didn’t take long for the home side to create a chance when on the 48th minute Ian Bermingham found himself in the opposition box, following a good pass from Brennan. The defender played in Brennan but the midfielder’s snap shot was charged down by the Derry defence.
The second-half stuck to the same script as the first, St Patricks Athletic huffed and puffed with front man Christy Fagan unable to break down a resilient Derry City back four.
The switch on the hour mark to take off Fagan and replace him with Anto Flood nearly paid dividends straight away with a chance from a corner, that left a questionable foul from the Derry defence leaving the Saints’ appealing for a penalty.
The lively Flood was everywhere during his brief time on the pitch and got his just reward on the 81st minute. A speculative effort from about 20 yards out on the left hand side crept in over helpless Derry goalkeeper Ger Doherty.
The goal was symbolic of how well the Derry City back four had played. The superb back four were broken down by a wonderful piece of skill from the St Patricks Athletic substitute that left the home crowd spoilt after Greg Bolger’s wonderful goal last Sunday.
St Patricks Athletic didn’t let that wonderful goal deter them, even in a game that had been rendered meaningless, when in the closing moments Flood looked for his second of the night. Cutting across Derry goalkeeper Doherty Flood looked to pick up on scraps but was ultimately shut out from the Derry defence.
St Patricks Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Conor Kenna, Aidan Price, Ian Bermingham; Shane McFaul, Killian Brennan; Christopher Forrester (Conan Byrne 46), Sean Gannon (John Russell 46), Jake Kelly, Christy Fagan (Anthony Flood 65).
Subs not used: Lorcan Fitzgerald, Daryl Kavangh, Kenny Browne, Rene Gilmartin
Booked: Russell (64)
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Ryan McBride, Barry Molloy (c), Dean Jarvis; Michael Rafter (Mark Griffin 71), Patrick McEleney, Ryan Curran, Barry McNamee; David McDaid, Rory Patterson (Raymond Foy 80).
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Eoghan Osbourne, Tony McNamee, Conor Barr, Conall Kelly,
Booked: McDaid (79).
Referee: Paul Sutton.
Extratime Man of the Match: Killian Brennan (St Patrick's Ath).