St. patricks

St. Patrick’s hope to end 51-year wait

There is an old saying that everything comes to those who wait. Well, supporters of St Patrick’s Athletic must be wondering if that is really true. It’s now 51 years since the Saints lifted the FAI Cup. I know of a few Saints supporters who were at Dalymount Park in April 1961 to see Pat’s beat the now defunct Drumcondra 2-1 and they will be in the Aviva Stadium on Sunday to see their team take on Derry City in this year’s final. But the majority of Saints supporters have never experienced a Cup final win.

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Over those 51 years St Patrick’s have qualified for six finals, but they have lost all six, including the 1996 final against Shelbourne, which went to a replay. Their other Cup final defeats were in 1967 to Shamrock Rovers, 1974 to Finn Harps, 1980 to Waterford, 2003 to Longford Town and six years ago they were beaten by Derry City in the final. Meanwhile Derry has a good record in Cup finals since they joined the League of Ireland in 1985 and the Candystripes have brought the famous trophy home to Brandywell four times. Apart from that 2006 win over Pat’s, which was the last final to be played at the old Lansdowne Road, Derry were also successful in 1989, 1995 and 2002. This will be the third final at the Aviva and Sligo is the only club to win the Cup at the new stadium so far.

Apart from the long-suffering Saints supporters, Shamrock Rovers fans will also be hoping that the Cup goes to Inchicore this year. A win for Pat’s would mean that Rovers, who finished fourth in the League, would qualify for the Europa League next year. A Derry City win would see them play in the Europa League next season. Derry manager Declan Devine won an Irish Cup medal as a goalkeeper with Glentoran in 1996 and although Liam Buckley never won an FAI Cup medal as a player, he was manager of Sporting Fingal when they beat Sligo Rovers in the 2009 final. Maybe Buckley will be the man to bring a bit of much needed Cup final luck to the ever-patient Saints.