The players of Drogheda United FC finally gave their long-suffering supporters something to sing about as they defeated Cork City FC 2-0 in the FAI Cup final to take the first senior trophy in their 42-year history.
Drogheda captain Declan O'Brien made sure of the win in front of 25,000 fans at Lansdowne Road with a well-taken goal late on, but it was a member of one of the great dynasties of Irish football who set up the surprise win against favourites Cork, who therefore missed out on a league and cup double.
Midfield player Gavin Whelan put Drogheda ahead with a superb volley after 52 minutes, a goal that his family would have been proud of. Gavin's father Paul Whelan was a well-known defender with big Irish clubs like Bohemian FC, Shamrock Rovers FC and Derry City FC in the 1990s, while his uncle Ronnie Whelan is regarded as one of the greats of the Irish game, having captained both Liverpool FC and the Republic of Ireland as well as winning a European Champion Clubs' Cup medal and appearing at two FIFA World Cup finals. Gavin's late grandfather, Ronnie Whelan Snr, was capped a number of times by the Republic of Ireland in the 1960s.
"My dad, my uncle and my granddad all won cup medals as players, dad and granddad won the FAI Cup and of course my uncle Ronnie won the FA Cup with Liverpool, so this is great for my family," said Gavin, who was nine-year-old mascot when his dad Paul captained Bohemian FC to a Cup final win in 1992.
'They tried hard'
Cork were aiming for a domestic double having won the Premier Division title two weeks earlier, but Damien Richardson's much-fancied City did not perform on the day. "We won the league so I can't be too critical of the players," the manager said. "They tried hard in the final but it wasn't their day."
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