Rory Patterson was the match winning hero with two goals as Derry City saw off St. Patrick’s Athletic in extra time in a pulsating FAI Cup final on Sunday.
Patterson grabbed the winner in extra time at the Aviva to send the Derry fans home happy with their visit to Dublin.
He told reporters afterwards, “It is nice to get the winner in the cup final. It gets us into Europe now so we’re all delighted.
“You just keep plugging away and play your football. Pat’s played their football. It was just us who got the lucky break.
“Obviously the lad has tried to head it back to the keeper and I’ve read it. I got a good touch past the keeper and it was an easy enough finish.”
Substitute Patterson admitted the early stages of the game were poor enough before it burst into life in a four goal second half.
He said, “It was cup final football. You need both teams to work each other out. We have a lot of young lads in the team as well and nerves probably did play a part. It was just whoever dealt with them better.
“Once they got the opening goal it opened the game up and it turned into a great cup final.”
Derry boss Declan Devine led the team back to Derry in triumph for an open top bus tour of the city on Monday.
Devine said, “It means everything to me, to the club, to our fans. Our club was on its knees three years ago, we were thrown out of the league.
“A group of local men regrouped and we’re back winning a major honor. We have fantastic local staff and fantastic local players and if you were in that changing room you’d see what it means to everyone.
“This club’s back where it belongs. Back in Europe, the city of culture, the whole works. It means a lot to our city. We’re going back there with a trophy and, you know what, we’re going to celebrate it.”
St. Patrick’s Athletic manager Liam Buckley was bitterly disappointed as the Saints lost out again, 51 years after their last FAI Cup victory.
Buckley said, “I’ve been through that pain as a player and manager, there is nothing you can say or do, time is the best healer. I would like it to still be with them as it can be a driving force. You need to win finals when you get to them.
“We are gutted in there and I’m sick for the lads as we have worked extremely hard all season and this would have been nice reward.
“I’m gutted for the fans as they have travelled around Europe with us, Bosnia to Iceland to Germany and around the country in big numbers. I’m gutted for them as I know what it would mean to them but we’ll give it another bash next year.
“There is no picking up after losing a cup final and it will take them a few days to ease it out of their system.”