Last Sunday over 25,000 Irish soccer fans headed to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin to see the 2015 FAI Cup Final. This was an incredible number considering there had been torrential rain falling in Dublin’s Fair City all morning. The fact the numbers were so big just tells you how much interest there was in this years final. In prospect, was a game between the top two sides in the country, Dundalk and Cork City. Dundalk were hoping to complete a League and Cup double and the only thing ready to stop them was Cork, themselves hoping to get their hands on silverware to finish off a pretty good season. The buzz was amazing around the ground before the match and in the many public houses, the pre match discussion was all about how the game would go and who would be the match winners. Would it be the men from Dundalk or could it be the men from alongside the River Lee who would end up victorious.
On the pitch it was always going to be a tight affair and it proved just to be that way. Chances were at a minimum and in fairness neither side took control of the game. It looked to me as if Cork had come to dig in, park the bus and hit Dundalk on the break. A negative tactic but a tactic all the same. With this tactic applied by Cork this game was always going to go the distance and head towards extra time. This indeed it did and as we gathered ourselves for the final thirty minutes of the season, it was always going to take a special moment to clinch it. That special moment came in the 117 minute of the game when Dundalk duo Horgan and Towell combined to create a chance for Towell to score his twenty ninth goal of the season. His class showed through as he took one touch, moved into space and buried the ball past McNulty in the Cork goal. The traveling Dundalk fans went berserk as they knew how close they were to their first double since 1988. The goal pushed Cork into coming out and playing but it was to late, they created nothing to get an equaliser. On referee David Mckeons final whistle the celebration could start and the Dundalk fans could start to party. After the game Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny paid tribute to his players and words could not explain how he felt about their commitment to a fantastic season.
One sad note on the day was the report after the game by the police, that during the celebrations Dundalk fans ripped up thirty seats. It was a black mark on a great day for Irish football and hopefully these thugs can be found charged and banished from future games.
( By David Meier )