WEMBLEY, they say, is not a place to lose a football game and for Stoke’s Irish brigade the FA Cup final ultimately ended in disappointment.
Glenn Whelan, Rory Delap, Marc Wilson and Jonathan Walters were all chosen to start but were unable to inspire their team on a day when Stoke struggled to deal with the occasion.
Dubliner Whelan and Belfast-born Wilson had a tough job against match-winner Yaya Toure, whose power, pace and tenacity was key for a City side that dominated the first half as Stoke slept.
Walters was one of Stokes’ better performers, working tirelessly up front.
In reality, however, City always looked the more likely winners and were able to create the better chances.
Not even Delap’s famed long-throws could upset a defence expertly marshalled by Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott and he was eventually substituted in the 80th minute — four minutes before Whelan was also replaced.
It was also a double-edged day for Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given, who sat on the bench at the end of a season in which he has played second fiddle to Joe Hart.
Afterwards he admitted there are big decisions to make about his career this summer, but you suspect he will not be at Eastlands next season to return to Wembley for the Community Shield match between City and United.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved