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Murphy says Pats' name could be on cup after penalty heroics down Drogs

GIVEN that the Berlin Wall hadn't even been built, let alone torn down, the last time St Patrick's Athletic won the FAI Cup, the notion of that club being one of the 'cup specialists' seems far fetched.

But after nights like last night's dramatic win -- on penalties -- against Drogheda United, which eased Liam Buckley's side into the last four and a semi-final tie away to Dundalk, some reckon that the Saints are indeed, finally, a cup side.

Even after two full doses of 90 minutes and an added 30 minutes of extra time, Pat's and Drogheda could not be separated. The sides finishing 1-1 in Drogheda last night after Derek Prendergast and Vinny Faherty traded goals.

So it was down to the spot-kick lottery and the saves from Pat's keeper Barry Murphy which kept out efforts by Tiarnan Mulvenna and the Brennan brothers, Sean and Gavin, were enough to seal a place in the last four for Buckley's boys, Pats now hoping that their agonising wait for another FAI Cup final win -- 51 years -- can finally be ended.

"I think we are a cup team at the moment, we've been strong in the cup competitions this season and hopefully we can go all the way," Pat's keeper Murphy said after last night's defeat of an in-form Drogheda side.

"This year maybe we can win the Cup and next year talk about the league but for now we're just delighted to be in the semis.

"As a club we have come really far this season, we have done well in the league and now we're in the last four of the Cup. Time is running out in the league as we only have a few games left and we have some catching up to do, so the FAI Cup is a big deal for us.

"We all know the history of the club, we know it's been 50-odd years since they last won it so hopefully we can keep this run going, get to the final at least and then go on and win it," added Murphy.

Pats were probably the better side over the two ties against Drogheda but United will feel unfortunate to be out of the competition. Drogheda looked strong in the first half and even scored after half an hour but Gavin Brennan's effort was disallowed for a foul. For all their possession Pats struggled to impact on Gabriel Sava's goal, with Greg Bolger, Christopher Forrester and Sean O'Connor all failing to hit the target.

Drogheda made it count on 78 minutes when Prendergast headed them in front from Philip Hand's corner. United had already qualified for one major final this season, Saturday's League Cup meeting with Shamrock Rovers, and it seemed as if another semi-final was on the cards but Faherty nicked a scrappy equaliser in the 89th minute to force extra time.

No more goals on a chilly night in Drogheda so on to spot kicks. Eric Foley and Peter Hynes scored for Drogheda while Sean O'Connor, Jake Kelly and Faherty successfully converted, but while Drogs keeper Sava could only save one, Murphy saved three and became the hero.

"I usually do well in penalties but I took a different approach last night," said Murphy.

"I got a few tips off our chief scout (Dave Campbell) on which way their players were going to go, and I read a few of them as well so it was nice to save three. I made the saves but Dave Campbell is claiming the credit, I suppose he's done his job."