With our last FAI Cup success now 25 years ago we all feel we are overdue an FAI Cup win, with two cup final losses against Galway and the Derry City the final against Sligo two years ago seemed like destiny as the first one in the new Aviva Stadium looked all set to be the scene of a double winning success until a penalty shoot-out nightmare!
I don’t usually buy into superstition and faith but after waiting 16 years before we eventually won out 16th league title in 2010 could it now be that we could win our 25th FAI Cup after a 25 year wait?!! It sounds like a nice story and hopefully it will have a happy ending but it got of to a difficult start as the first chapter put us up against Division 1 title favourites Limerick. With many experienced Premier Division players in their squad it seemed like this would be a tricky proposition but with Joe Gamble and Dennis Behan missing and Stephen Bradley only fit enough for the bench our task was made slightly easier.
After a bright start the game went flat and we went into the break 0-0. Similar to the Monaghan game on Monday we failed to create many chances until the introduction of Daryl Kavanagh for O’Neill. It was also good to see the re-introduction of Stephen O’Donnell who played so well against Pats a few back in the Leinster Senior Cup and it was the substitutes that made the difference when Kavanaghs 25 short was parried by former Hoop Barry Ryan and O’Donnell slotted home to put us 1 up.
After that you would think we could relax and play football and hopefully extend our lead but due to our fragile confidence we looked edgy and Limerick pushed hard for an equalizer, they introduced Bradley, substituted a centre half for an extra striker but they were hampered when Paudie Quinns high tackle on Gilbert was punished with a straight red card. We managed to see out the game but not before some nervy moments particularly from corner kicks but a much needed clean sheet was enough to see us into the next round.
After Sligos shock loss to Monaghan it means the champions of the last 2 seasons are out and we will now be the favourites to win but with no other shocks tonight there is still a very strong list of teams involved and we will be hoping for another home game in the next round.
Keep on Hooping!