Its over, its finally over. The St Patrick's Athletic 53 year FAI Cup curse is finally over after a 2-0 win over Derry City at a brisk Aviva Stadium.
Both goals came in the second half through the Saints eagle eyed marksman Christy Fagan to send the Richmond Park faithful into a jig of glee to “The Saints Are Coming” at full time.
With the aroma of flares still poignant in the Ballsbridge air, the Candystripes went close to a very early opener. A Patrick McEleney free kick from the left hand side found the head of Philip Lowry.
The promising midfielder looped the ball to the back post, finding the head of the waiting Ryan McBride.
The defenders contact was decent but his trajectory was not as the effort looped harmlessly into the Saints faithful behind the South Stand goal.
With just Peter Durrad in relief, it was likely Christy Fagan was going to have to carry the line share of Pats goal threat.
He went about that task from an early stage, having a double effort firstly tipped away by Ger Doherty and then disappointingly curling the follow up effort wide.
With fifteen minutes on the clock, Fagan for the first time found himself in behind the City rearguard.
He was beaten to the ball by Doherty and Byrnes follow up from a tight angle did not test the former TNS keeper. Bright openings for Pats though.
McEleney has enjoyed the best spell of his burgeoning career under Peter Hutton and his manager's faith in him was almost rewarded 23 minutes.
Unfortunately his lobbed effort only flirted with the overside of the Saints crossbar following a Rory Patterson flick on.
Fagan was in the middle of all the Saints forward momentum and he could not have gone closer to finding the lead for his side 7 minutes before the half.
Kenny Browne flicked the ball on and it fell to the front man, his strike was perfect, but was agonisingly inches wide of the beaten Doherty’s post.
Six minutes after the break, Fagan and the Saints found a breakthrough that gave them hope of finally breaking the curse.
Ger O’Brien slotted Keith Fahey in down the Derry left. He squared the ball for the striker and he just about sneaked a hacked shot in off the inside of the post to send the Inchicore faithful into raptures.
Derry began to come out of their shell somewhat after Fagan’s strike but chance creation was proving to be a real problem. Barry Molloy and Philip Lowry looking inept in that department.
With just over 25 minutes remaining, Fagan should have doubled the Dublin sides lead. A scintillating ball around the City defence by Fahey found the former Bohemians striker but he dragged his shot wide.
Barry McNamee was brought on by Peter Hutton to give Derry more guile and composure from midfield, and with twenty minutes to go, the City number seven almost gave his side much more than that.
Having played the original pass out to Stephen Dooley, the cross from the winger found its way to Philip Lowry. He touched it back to McNamee and his shot stung the hands of Brendan Clarke. Signs of life from the Ulstermen finally.
It was more than signs of life from City with 12 minutes remaining. Michael Duffy swung a delightful cross in from the right, finding the head of Rory Patterson.
The man who turned this same fixture two years ago could not do so on this occasion though, his header to high to test Clarke.
Derry’s inability to find a way beyond a deep Saints defensive line meant resorting to speculative efforts like McEleney’s five minutes from time, his finessed effort never troubling Clarke.
In injury time, Derry had the opportunity to grab a late equaliser as Patterson lined up a free kick but his smashed effort hit the wall and found its way to safety.
In the final minute, the Saints cup curse was finally broken. Fahey’s ball over the top of the Derry defence caused a mix up between the City skipper and keeper Doherty allowing Fagan to capitalise and put the result beyond doubt with a calm finish into an empty net.
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Danny Ventre, Ryan McBride (Barry McNamee 65), Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis; Stephen Dooley, Philip Lowry, Barry Molloy, Michael Duffy; Patrick McEleney(Sean Houston 90); Rory Patterson.
Booked: McBride (7), Dooley (13), Patterson (90)
Subs not used: Ciaran Gallagher (GK), Shane McEleney, Josh Treacy, Mark Timlin, Ryan Curran.
St Pats: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien (Conor McCormack 80), Sean Hoare, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; Keith Fahey (James Chambers 90), Greg Bolger, Killian Brennan; Conan Byrne, Christy Fagan, Chris Forrester (Lorcan Fitzgerald 90).
Booked: Hoare (2), Bolger (62), Fahey (87), Brennan (90)
Subs not used: Pat Jennings (GK), Derek Foran, Ken Oman, Conor McCormack, Peter Durrad.
Referee: Padraigh Sutton
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Keith Fahey (St Patricks Athletic)