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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Paul O'Hehir

Shelbourne's focus shifts to FAI Cup final after 4-0 loss to St Patricks Athletic

SHELBOURNE’S pride took a beating but their players didn’t with focus now switching to Sunday’s FAI Cup final against Derry City.

If Damien Duff was worried about key men picking up costly injuries or suspensions - like Derry’s Sadou Diallo - he didn’t show it.

Skipper Luke Byrne, Shane Farrell and JJ Lunney were the only first-team regulars not involved although those who played took no enjoyment from this game.

READ MORE: Erling Haaland grabs late winner off bench to rescue win for 10-man Man City vs Fulham

St Pat’s, who need the Candystripes to beat Shels next weekend to secure European football, annihilated their derby rivals in a first-half show of strength.

Eoin Doyle scored a brace and Anto Breslin - who assisted both of the striker’s goals - weighed in with a brilliant finish of his own.

And Ben McCormack added a fourth at the death before the Saints players gave Ian Bermingham a guard of honour off the pitch in his final game.

These two clubs breathed new life into their rivalry this season, with bad blood still lingering over the postponed league game when St Pat’s were in Bulgaria.

The two dugouts then clashed at Tolka Park when they last met and while there was nothing at stake here, needle was anticipated.

But apart from a 10-minute spell in the first-half where things threatened to get out of hand - on the pitch - it never reached boiling point.

Shels, who threatened early with a Sean Boyd strike from distance, were torn asunder on the scoreboard.

Doyle got the ball rolling in the 15th minute when he finished off a Breslin cross and he bagged his second five minutes later.

This time he headed home another Breslin cross at the back post for his 14th of this league season.

Needle was creeping into the game.

Tom Grivosti was booked for a crunching challenge on JR Wilson before Jack Moylan left one on Barry Cotter.

Moylan was simmering for a time and, mindful that a red would rule him out of the Cup final, Duff whipped him off after 35 minutes before being sent off.

The Shels playmaker shook his head repeatedly as he walked the perimeter of the pitch, and exchanged words with backroom staff as he took his place on the bench.

And Shels continued to unravel as any sniff of a comeback was wiped out with seven minutes of the first-half remaining.

Gavin Molloy - playing here as a centre-back - miscontrolled a Saints ball forward and Doyle punished him by teeing up Breslin who smashed the ball home.

That was his final act as he made way at the break for Bermingham, the club’s all-time record appearance maker, in his final game after 13 years at the club.

Later, when he was replaced in the dying minutes, team-mates raced towards the dugout to clap him off the pitch.

With the cup final in mind, Duff withdrew Boyd, Mark Coyle and Wilson before the hour, and Shane Griffin shortly after it.

But a couple of snatched efforts from Smith aside, there was no hint of Shels hitting the goal trail again having thumped Drogheda 6-0 only a week ago.

And just to compound their misery, McCormack rolled in a fourth at the death after capitalising on some chaotic Shels defending.

But the Reds will quickly chalk this off as they have bigger things on their mind with Sunday’s showdown looms large.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Odumosu 7 Curtis 6 (Brockbank 67, 5), Redmond 7, Grivosti 6; Cotter 7, Forrester 8, Timmerman 7, Breslin 8 (Bermingham 45, 6); King 6 (Murphy 67, 6), McCormack 7; Doyle 8 (Atakayi 82, 5)

SHELBOURNE: Clarke 5; Negru 5, Molloy 5, Griffin 5 (Browne 66, 6); Wilson 6 (Giurgi 58, 5), Coyle 6 (O’Driscoll 59, 5), Dervin 5, Ledwidge 5; McManus 5, Moylan 4 (Smith 35, 6); Boyd 6 (Carr, 59, 5).

Referee: Paul McLaughlin

Attendance: 4,644

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