Elation and devastation in equal measure at heart-stopping finale
THE FAI Cup Final traditionally produces many twists and turns but yesterday's cracker at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin is already being described as one of the greatest, after red cards, controversial refereeing decisions and late, late goals.
Sligo Rovers triumphed 3-2 over luckless Drogheda United following a heart-stopping finale. "I've been to games all season and in terms of drama that's as good as you'll get," said delighted Sligo supporter Declan O'Boyle, from Barroe.
"Over the whole 90 minutes the best team won. Credit to Drogheda United but for the 90 minutes played we had them under pressure for 60 minutes and deserved the win in the end."
A 94th-minute winner was the icing on the cake for supporters in red after their team came from behind to claim their fifth FAI cup title. Among them were Fleur Kinsella and Claire McManus from Sligo, with Fleur sporting crutches and a leg cast.
"I broke my leg in three different places about a month ago playing rugby but there was absolutely no way I was going to miss the game," she said.
"It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster. In the first half I was sure we were going to lose, but in the second they brought it back," Claire said.
And there was only one name on the lips of grateful Sligo supporters as to who to thank for the heart-stopping win.
"I think definitely Danny North was the star performer. He brought it back when things really didn't look good," said Suzanne Dunne (25) from Kintogher.
But there was also devastation, especially as there was more than a hint of controversy about Sligo's second goal, with Drogheda players, and indeed fans, furious that referee Paul Tuite allowed the goal to stand.
Steve McMullen and Glen Kelly, friends of Drogs' star Mick Daly, said it would have been a different outcome with a different referee.
"I'm a bit sick. For the free kick I heard the referee never blew the whistle so that's a horrible way to go," Steve said.