Evan Treacy/INPHO St Pat's striker Eoin Doyle (file photo).

St Pat's and Sligo Rovers both suffer shock FAI Cup exits after European progress

Waterford beat the Saints 3-2 at Richmond Park while fellow First Division side Wexford edged out the Bit O’Red 2-1 after extra time.

LAST UPDATE | Jul 31st 2022, 6:11 PM

FAI Cup first round
St Patrick’s Athletic 2
Waterford 3

Darryl Geraghty reports from Richmond Park

REIGNING FAI CUP holders St. Patrick’s Athletic fell at the first hurdle in the defence of their title as Waterford produced the shock of the round with a dramatic 3-2 win at Richmond Park.

And there was another upset for one of the League of Ireland’s flag-bearers in Europe after First Division side Wexford beat Sligo Rovers 2-1 after-extra time at the Showgrounds.

But the day’s drama began in Dublin, and all the goals came in a topsy-turvy first half with both sides taking turns having the lead.

After a gruelling 120 minutes played in Slovenia on Thursday, this proved to be a European hangover for Tim Clancy’s men, who were still riding the crest of the wave having overcome NS Mura on penalties to set up a massive Europa Conference League third qualifying round tie with CSKA Sofia on Thursday.

The hosts opted for five changes to the team that started midweek, with Paddy Barrett making his first start of the season, and made all of the early running.

The fresh legs of Ronan Coughlan up top caused problems from the off and with just eight minutes gone missed a glorious chance to open the scoring. Having broken the offside trap from a slick Jamie Lennon through ball, the lively front man tried to beat Paul Martin at the near post but his shot was blocked.

From the resulting Thijs Timmerman corner, skipper Joe Redmond saw his looping header hit the post and rebound to safety.

It was the first game in 11 days for The Blues who are sitting nicely in third in the First Division and would have had aspirations of an immediate return to the Premier Division, and they showed they weren’t just here to make up the numbers.

In fact, it was the visitors who snatched the lead with just a quarter of an hour gone. Junior Quitirna released Phoenix Patterson on the right wing, and without hesitation, whipped in a cross for big number nine Wassim Aouchria to bundle the ball home.

adam-oreilly Evan Treacy / INPHO St Pat's midfielder Adam O'Reilly (file photo). Evan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

The Saints didn’t have to wait long for their deserved equaliser though. Just minutes later, a slick passing move saw Timmermans fizz the ball into Coughlan’s feet, who flicked it around the corner first time to Mark Doyle and just a the winger entered the area and was about to pull the trigger, was bundled over by the recovering Tunmise Sobowale.

Up stepped the ice-cool Coughlan and after a hop, skip and a jump, sent Martin the wrong way to make it 1-1.

With a half hour played, The Saints took the lead and it was through yet another outstanding delivery from Timmermans. The Dutchman delivered a tantalising free kick from the left wing that found the head of Tom Grivosti at the back post, who powered his header home.

Danny Searle’s troops didn’t let their heads drop and hit back almost immediately. Serge Atakayi’s slack back pass found its way to the feet of the grateful Aouchria, and with the goal at his mercy, made no mistake slotting home to make it 2-2.

In a chaotic first half there was somehow still time for another goal, and it was the visitors who got themselves back in front.

Junior picked the ball up centrally and played a clever one-two with Shane Griffin, and from the edge of the area bent a beautiful left footed curler into the side netting giving Anang no chance and the Cup upset was well and truly on.

Tim Clancy responded with a triple half time substitution to wrestle the game back in their favour, and it was all one-way traffic as the half began.

The introduction of Chris Forrester and Adam O’Reilly in the middle of the park helped the home side dominate possession, with Billy King looking a threat on the right hand side.

tim-clancy Tom Maher / INPHO St Pat's boss Tim Clancy (file photo). Tom Maher / INPHO / INPHO

The visitors’ threat remained through attacking trio Patterson, Junior and Aouchria on the break giving the home side something to think about as they desperately tried to get back level.

Just after the hour mark Pat’s went two up top, as top scorer Eoin Doyle came off the bench but it was fellow front man Coughlan who missed two glorious chances to level, both from Anto Breslin deliveries on the left wing, but couldn’t hit the target.

Wave after wave of Pat’s attacks continued but perhaps a hint of desperation and tiredness began to kick in, as Martin remained relatively untroubled.

King was next to fluff his lines, having been slipped through by Coughlan, but sliced his left footed effort over the bar.

shane-griffin-celebrates-scoring-a-goal Ken Sutton / INPHO Waterford's Shane Griffin (file photo). Ken Sutton / INPHO / INPHO

As frustration grew, the home fans thought they had equalised when Forrester’s left footed rocket missed the target by inches and just ran out of time in search of their equaliser.

And another shock was to follow in Sligo when the Bit O’Red, fresh from their comprehensive win over Motherwell in the Europa Conference League, blew a one-goal lead against Wexford.

Aidan Keena struck from the penalty spot but former Sligo frontman Dinny Corcoran equalised for the visitors a short time later to send the game to extra time.

And Wexford completed the turnaround when goalkeeper Luke McNicholas, who agreed a new contract earlier this week, spilled a cross into his net.

Sunday’s other FAI Cup results

Bluebell 0-7 Galway United
Cobh Ramblers 0-1 Cork City
Salthill Devon 2-2 Malahide United
(Malahide win 6-5 on penalties)
Bonagee United 6-0 Pike Rovers

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