Memories are made of this: Ten memorable FAI Cup finals

Memories are made of this: Ten memorable FAI Cup finals

Cork Hibernians’ hat-trick hero Miah Dennehy, left, holding the FAI Cup with captain Dave Bucuzzi, right, amid a group of jubilant supporters following his team’s dramatic 3-0 win over Waterford in the final, played at Dalymount Park on April 23rd 1972.

1945: Shamrock Rovers 1 Bohemians 0

The meeting of these Dublin arch-rivals attracted a then record attendance of 41,238.

A remarkable fact of Rovers’ win was that they actually lost twice on the road to Dalymount Park. But as only eight teams were entered the rounds were over two legs ahead of the one-off final. The Hoops, with future Everton and Ireland stars Peter Farrell and Tommy Eglington in their line-up, lost first leg games against both Limerick and Dundalk only to retrieve the situation in the return and get through to the final where Podge Gregg got the only goal of the game.

1956: Shamrock Rovers 3 Cork Athletic 2.

It looked like curtains for Rovers as they trailed 2-0 late on.

First half goals from Jimmy Delaney and Jimmy Murphy had Athletic, who, in tandem with predecessors Cork United, had won the cup four times since their foundation in 1940, seemingly in command at half-time.

The story goes that so confident were Athletic of lifting the Blue Riband that, with 13 minutes to play, a club director left Dalymount to buy champagne for their impending celebrations.

On his return he discovered that Paddy Coad’s ‘Colts’ had levelled through Tommy Hamilton and a Liam Hennessy penalty before Ronnie Nolan became the hero with a 92nd minute winner.

1972: Cork Hibernians 3 Waterford 2

A week before the cup final, the best two sides in the country had faced off in the final match of the league season.

Needing a win to force a play-off, Hibs lost 3-2 in front of 25,000 at Flower Lodge as Waterford secured their fifth title in seven years. Having won the league in his first season in charge the year before, Dave Bacuzzi’s dethroned champions would have their vengeance to deny Blues the double with Miah Dennehy the star of the show.

Dennehy had scored twice in the league play-off win over Shamrock Rovers the previous year, and he delivered in style again, scoring the first hat-trick in an FAI Cup final.

1984: UCD 1 Shamrock Rovers 0 (replay)

Though it marked one of the biggest shocks in a final, UCD had actually signed several professional players ahead of that season under player-manager Dermot Keely.

And though Keely had departed mid-season he was in Jim McLaughlin’s champions’ losing side in the replayed decider.

Joe Hanrahan put UCD ahead in front of just 6,000 at Tolka Park.

And though Jacko McDonagh levelled from a penalty, Ken O’Doherty hit a 95th minute winner.

A few months later, UCD lost just 1-0 on aggregate to English First Division champions-in-waiting Everton in Europe, Howard Kendall’s side going on to win the Cup Winners’ Cup.

1990: Bray Wanderers 3 St Francis 0.

Pete Mahon’s non-league St Francis provided the glamour of the cup in spades to reach the first final to be staged at Lansdowne Road.

Bray Wanderers' John Ryan is congratulated by team-mates after scoring one of his three goals.
Bray Wanderers' John Ryan is congratulated by team-mates after scoring one of his three goals.

Such was the novelty, the kick off was delayed as a crowd estimated at close to 30,000 attended.

A young Roy Keane had scored for Cobh Ramblers in a 2-2 draw at St Colman’s Park in the second round before St Francis won the replay 3-0.

Mahon’s side beat Newcastle West and then shocked Bohemians in the semi-final.

There was to be no fairytale ending, however, John Ryan proving the Bray matchwinner in the final, scoring two penalties on the way to a hat-trick.

1996: Shelbourne 2 St Patrick’s Athletic 1 (replay)

It was drama all the way as Shelbourne deprived Brian Kerr’s champions of the double.

Shels keeper Alan Gough was sent off in the first match, Tony Sheridan forcing a replay with a stunning late equaliser.

In a bizarre moment, midfielder Brian Flood, who’d come on to go in goal, had walked into the net with the ball under his arm, the ‘own goal’ going unseen by match officials.

Gough’s redemption came when saving a penalty from the usually reliable Eddie Gormley in the Dalymount replay.

As they had done in the first game, Davy Campbell gave St Pat’s the lead with Sheridan equalising.

Stephen Geoghegan, the league’s top marksman that season, hit a fine winner nine minutes from time.

2006: Derry City 4 St Patrick’s Athletic 3.

The last game at the old Lansdowne Road certainly wasn’t dull despite the atrocious weather on the day.

Peter Hutton of Derry lifts the cup in 2006
Peter Hutton of Derry lifts the cup in 2006

Dunfermline bound Stephen Kenny’s Derry had a cracking season, beating Gothenburg and thrashing Gretna in Europe before losing to Paris St Germain.

They won the League Cup while then losing the league to Shelbourne on goal difference.

In a roller-coaster decider, Derry came from behind three times against John McDonnell’s Saints, Killian Brennan’s free kick deflecting off defender Stephen Brennan to end up in the net for an own goal to decide it in extra-time.

St Pat’s Dave Mulcahy scored in that last game at the old Lansdowne Road and then also in the first at the new Aviva when playing for the Airtricity League against Manchester United.

2010: Sligo Rovers 0 Shamrock Rovers 0 (Sligo won 2-0 on pens)

The first final at the new Aviva Stadium delivered no goals, but had plenty of intrigue as Sligo avenged their bitter loss to a dubious ‘Shams’ penalty in the 1978 final.

They did so without conceding a goal throughout the whole competition, even in the shoutout in the final.

Before the largest crowd yet for a decider at the Aviva of 36,101, the game finished 0-0 after extra-time, during which current Rovers’ head coach Stephen Bradley was sent off.

Unable to watch, Sligo manager Paul Cook hid in the carpark. In a remarkable feat of goalkeeping, Ciaran Kelly saved all four Rovers penalties as Eoin Doyle and Gary McCabe were spot on to give the Bit O’ Red the glory.

2014: St Patrick’s Athletic 2 Derry City 0.

For sheer emotional input from their fans this has gone down as one of the greatest days in the history of St Patrick’s Athletic. After losing seven successive finals since winning it in 1961, the Holy Grail, as it had been dubbed around Inchicore, was finally delivered.

Liam Buckley had built a fine side that had won the league the previous year.

With 20 league goals already that season, Christy Fagan was the Saints’ talisman striker, scoring both goals in the final, to bring tears to the eyes of some older fans, including Saints’ legend Brian Kerr doing television commentary.

2017: Cork City 1 Dundalk 1(Cork won 5-3 on pens)

This marked the pinnacle of John Caulfield’s time as Cork City manager as the Rebel Army revelled in winning the double.

All the sweeter given it came against Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk, at the peak of the clubs’ rivalry.

Cork City's Karl Sheppard
Cork City's Karl Sheppard

A Seani Maguire goal in extra-time had won City the cup the previous year.

And having dethroned Dundalk to win the league, City maintained their Indian sign over the Lilywhites in the cup final.

Achille Campion equalised Niclas Vemmelund’s goal in extra-time.

Goalkeeper Mark McNulty, who saved Michael Duffy’s spot kick, and Kieran Sadlier, who slotted home the deciding one, sealed the double and back-to-back Blue Ribands.

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