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Hard work pays off in the end for cup hero Patterson

The Northern Irish striker came off the bench to bag two for Derry City at the Aviva Stadium yesterday.

Patterson celebrating at the Aviva yesterday.
Patterson celebrating at the Aviva yesterday.
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

ALL THE TALK at the Derry City media briefing last week centred around the fact that Declan Devine would at last have a fully fit team to choose from going into the Ford FAI Cup final.

The Candystripes had been robbed of several stars throughout the season through injuries but now he faced a major selection headache. When he did name his starting XI to take on St Patrick’s Athletic at the Aviva Stadium yesterday, there was no room for sentiment.

All-time record goalscorer for the club Mark Farren, in his farewell game before a move to Glenavon, was left out, as was fellow striker Rory Patterson with Devine opting for David McDaid and Barry McNamee in a supporting role.

But while Farren didn’t get the chance to add to his 113 goals, Northern Ireland international Patterson was thrown on just after the game had exploded into life… and boy did he make an impact.

On 59 minutes, the 28-year-old replaced Patrick McEleney with the game tied at 1-1. Eight minutes later, he had put Derry ahead from the penalty spot after Pat’s keeper Brendan Clarke upended Stephen McLaughlin.

The Saint struck back through Christy Fagan to send the game to extra-time but there wasn’t to be a fourth shootout in five years as Patterson pounced on a loose ball before rounding Clarke and side-footing home the winner.

After overcoming two hamstring injuries this season and doing everything physically possible to get himself fit for the final, man-of-the-match Patterson says he was obviously disappointed to be among the substitutes but was delighted to contribute to Derry’s fifth FAI Cup win.

“I’ve worked tirelessly over the last few months,” Patterson told TheScore. “I’ve been training three times a day just to get myself fit.

“I got the game against (Shamrock) Rovers in and missed the Pat’s one through suspension because of a stupid booking on my part. It’s been a nice end to get on a score the winner.”

Patterson also scored twice against Crusaders in the Setanta Cup final earlier this season but saw his side lose out on penalties. On his two goals yesterday, he added:

I’m the penalty-taker on the team so when we won it they just looked at me and knew I was going to take it. We’ve had a few before and lads have tried to take them off me, but I’ve won the fight.

“It was nice to get the winner in a cup final. The lad tried to head it back to the keeper but I read it. I got a touch past the keeper and it was an easy enough finish. It has put us into Europe and I’m delighted. ”

As it happened: Derry City v St Patrick’s Athletic, Ford FAI Cup final

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Ben Blake

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