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Red tide on the rise

ST PATRICK'S Athletic's 50-year FAI Cup famine will not be ended in 2011 after a brave display from Shelbourne, who qualified for their first cup decider in 11 years.

The Saints got off to a perfect start when Shels 'keeper Dean Delaney fumbled David McMillan's header into his own net, but the tie was turned on its head when Pat's stopper Gary Rogers conceded a penalty and was harshly sent off in the opening period.

Kevin Dawson scored the spot-kick and second-half goals from Brendan McGill and man-of-the-match David Cassidy gave Shels a famous 3-1 win in Inchicore.

Pat's star frontmen Danny North and Darryl Kavanagh, who looked dangerous in the drawn game, were completely anonymous throughout and the First Division side were comfortable winners in the end.

The opening exchanges were pretty even, with Kevin Dawson given a free role by Alan Matthews to compete in midfield, leaving Phillip Hughes as Shels' lone striker.

Pete Mahon's Pat's got off to the perfect start on 14 minutes after good work from Kavanagh released Doyle wide on the left and his teasing cross found McMillan. His looping header was fumbled to the net by Delaney under pressure from North, but the Shels netminder should have done better.

Pat's had a few half chances after scoring but the big talking point of the game came on 27 minutes.

Dawson made a clever run behind the Pat's back four and was found by a deft throw-in.

The ball appeared to squirm away from the striker before Bradley seemed to body-check Dawson into his own 'keeper Rogers.

Confusion reigned when referee Dave McKeon blew his whistle but he instantly sought out Rogers and issued a red.

The Pat's custodian cut a forlorn figure as he marched to the dressing room.

Chris Bennion came on and the unfortunate goalscorer McMillan was sacrificed.

Dawson earned the penalty and he scored it with an emphatic finish.

With numerical advantage, Cassidy beat the offside trap and beautifully controlled a through-ball -- his curling right-footed effort narrowly missed the top left-hand corner. Mahon would be hoping his men could have kept it tight for the opening 10 minutes of the second period but instead they conceded after two.

Dawson and Hughes were involved initially, before a sublime pass from Cassidy found McGill at the back post and his finish was clinical.

It could have got even worse for the Saints when Shane McFaul bundled Cassidy over for Shels' second penalty of the night.

But Bennion pulled off a stun-ning save down to his left to deny Dawson.

Derek Doyle then almost equalised for Pat's but he shot straight at Delaney.

Pat's centre-half Evan McMillan was thrown forward with 15 minutes to go as Pat's grew increasingly desperate.

Pat's were committing a lot of men forward for poorly constructed attacks and they paid the price as Cassidy broke into the box and controlled with his left before lifting the ball over the hapless Bennion and into the top corner.

Stephen Bradley struck the post from a free-kick and North went close with a glancing header late on, but it was too little too late.