FAI Cup Final Report: Bohemians 1 - 3 St Patrick's Athletic
Ryan KIlbane reports from the Aviva Stadium
St Patrick’s Athletic are FAI Cup champions for the second time in three years as they ran out 3-1 winners over Bohemian FC in the Aviva Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It was a repeat of the 2021 final which saw the Inchicore side triumph over their Dublin rivals and claim the cup for the fifth time in their history.
A record crowd of 43,881 spectators were in Lansdowne Road to see The Saints come from behind with goals from Mark Doyle, an own goal by Krystian Nowak and a late Thomas Lonergan effort canceling out an early Jonathan Afolabi penalty.
The loss was a double blow for the Gypsies who will now miss out on European football for the 2024 season.
Although the first half provided two goals it was largely cagey with both sides taking turns to sit in and frustrate the other either side of the strikes.
Bohs took the lead after eight minutes when referee Paul McLaughlin judged that Anto Breslin’s clumsy attempt to win the ball from Afolabi was enough to warrant an early penalty. The Premier Division’s joint top scorer made no mistake from the spot and converted to make it 1-0.
The momentum of the frenetic start faded somewhat due to a long stoppage following the goal and Pats gradually grew into the game.
Jon Daly’s men drew level on 24 minutes when Mark Doyle climbed highest to head home from close range from a Jake Mulraney free-kick. A repeat of the semi-final when he nodded the Saints ahead against Cork City.
In a largely even half, Boh's two wingers were arguably the most dangerous players. Good play by Dylan Connolly down the right on the 27th minute saw the ex-Dundalk man flash the ball across the box but Sam Curtis was well placed to see the ball behind.
The second half started as lively as the first one did and Pats were in front for the first time on 47 minutes Another wide free-kick delivered from Jake Mulraney which Bohs failed to deal with ended up in their net via Nowak.
Mulraneys inclusion from the start was an inspired move and he almost set up a third for The Saints as Bohs failed to deal with yet another of his wide deliveries and Doyle almost got in for his second on 54 minutes but Kukulowicz eventually cleared it.
Declan Devine’s men pushed on for an equalizer and on the hour Afolabi had a trio of chances within five minutes of each other. The best of which was foiled by an incredible block by Pats skipper Joe Remond. With another blocked by his center back partner Norman as a Afolabi found space on the penalty spot.
Jordan Flores, who started the game at left back, was then moved into his preferred position of central midfield and immediately went close with a trademark free-kick. The 25-yard effort had Saints keeper Dean Lyness worried but the attempt struck the wrong side of the upright and went wide.
The game began to lose its shape a bit as both teams emptied their benches and Pats in particular seemed to be struggling with cramp. At 2-1 though it was still in the balance.
But as the Gypsies pushed on for an equalizer the 2021 winners rallied and found a second wind. In a game of fine margins, Bohs stand-in skipper Flores was then at fault for the third goal which sealed his sides faith.
Substitute Lonergan robbed Flores after he took a heavy touch before curling a left-footed effort past James Talbot.
Pats cap off a fantastic season which saw them improve drastically since Jon Daly took over while Bohs will no doubt feel disappointed after a 6th place finish in the league sees them miss out on Europe to rivals Shelbourne.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Cian Byrne, Jordan Flores, Bartłomiej Kukułowicz, Krystian Nowak; James Clarke, Adam McDonnell (John O'Sullivan 85), James McManus (Patrick Kirk 51); Jonathan Afolabi, Dylan Connolly, Daniel Grant (Alistair Coote 68).
Subs not used: Luke Dennison, Louie Holzman, Declan McDaid, Dean Williams, Kristopher Twardek, Oluwaseun Akintunde.
Booked: James Clarke (47), Bartłomiej Kukułowicz (90).
St Patrick's Athletic: Dean Lyness; Anthony Breslin, Sam Curtis, David Norman Jr., Joseph Redmond; Christopher Forrester (Adam Murphy 68), Kian Leavy (Alex Nolan 75), Jamie Lennon; Conor Carty (Thomas Lonergan 75), Mark Doyle (Mason Melia 57), Jake Mulraney (Jason McClelland 68).
Subs not used: Daniel Rogers, John-Alan McGrath, Ben McCormack, Thijs Timmermans.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
extratime.com Player of the Match: Jamie Lennon (St Patrick's Athletic).