FAI Cup Semi-Final: St Patrick’s Athletic V Dundalk – The Tallaght Echo (Online) – October 22 2021

Saints to face Bohs in Cup decider after overcoming Dundalk in Inchicore

St Patrick’s Athletic will face Bohemians in next month’s FAI Cup final after the Saints recorded a 3-1 triumph over Dundalk at Richmond Park this evening.

Following traded goals between Billy King and Patrick Hoban, the sides were tied at the midway point in this penultimate round contest.

However, it was the hosts who discovered an extra gear in the second half with Matty Smith and Darragh Burns finding the net to seal a magnificent success.

The two sides on show in this game have endured contrasting fortunes in the league this season.

Whereas Pat’s are currently positioned in second with a haul of 53 points, Dundalk are 14 points behind the south Dubliners in seventh.

This tie was always likely to take on a life on its own, but it was the home team who broke the deadlock on 26 minutes.

Following a loose back pass by Dundalk midfielder Greg Sloggett, King pounced and unleashed a powerful right-footed strike beyond the reach of netminder Peter Cherrie.

Although this was a major morale boost for Stephen O’Donnell’s outfit, the visitors struck back four minutes prior to the interval.

After he was picked out by Will Patching in space, Hoban fired home his 19th goal of the season to leave the teams deadlocked at the break.

Given their opponents have an impeccable recent record in semi-finals – they were seeking a seventh successive final spot – there might have been a fear amongst the Saints faithful that the pendulum had swung in Dundalk’s favour.

Their fears were allayed 12 minutes after the restart, however, when Pat’s regained the lead in fine style.

Latching onto a superb through-ball by Burns, Smith – like his fellow Scot King – had only one thought in his mind. From just inside the box, he fired into the top corner at an acute right-hand angle.

This suddenly propelled the Inchicore men back into the driving seat and within sight of a much-coveted showpiece slot.

Robbie Benson, Jason McClelland and Ronan Coughlan were all introduced off the bench as the Saints looked to see out the game.

Coughlan had started the season as the main man in the Pat’s attack, but he made a telling contribution by playing in Burns for a game-clinching goal four minutes from time.

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