STEPHEN O'Donnell hailed his St Patrick's Athletic heroes for ending their five-year wait for a trophy with their FAI Cup final defeat of Bohemians.
nd while he heaped praise on his squad, the Galway native has special praise for goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros and midfielder Robbie Benson for the roles they played in the defeat of Bohs on penalties, Benson with the crucial kick, payback for his decision to leave Dundalk and move to the Saints.
Czech Republic U-21 cap Jaros is on loan to the Saints from Liverpool, as the Reds had scouts at the final in the Aviva to check on his form, and while that could be his last game for the Dublin club as his loan spell is up, O'Donnell praised his impact.
"It’s plain to see that he will play at a higher level," O'Donnell said of Jaros after the Cup final win.
"He’s only 20. He’s brilliant, you saw today, I’ve played with a few good keepers across channel who had come on loan to Scotland, he’s the best 20 year old I’ve ever come across or been involved with regards football, as a goalkeeper. He makes big saves, he’s so composed, the occasion doesn’t get to him. If you didn’t know his age you would think he was 27 or 28. He thinks like a man, acts like a man and he’s just a brilliant keeper.
"And Robbie [Benson], I said to Robbie out there that he came here at a time when the sensible and the sane thing was to stay at Dundalk, stay with a title-winning team. He showed massive cojones to come and believed in me, believed in the project. To come here, he was very comfortable at Dundalk, winning leagues and to be part of it from the very start. If ever a person deserved to score the winning penalty it was him.
"There are only two trophies to go for. I would have been delighted with our boys win, lose or draw. We came second in the league, got to the FAI Cup final. This is the icing on the cake and I’m just delighted for them, for some of them to add to their medal haul and most of the others to win their first senior medal. It’s great for us, it’s great for their confidence. Now they know they’ve been there, they’ve done it so they should kick on from it," he added.