The FAI Cup Final is set to take place this Sunday at 4 pm in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, bringing an end to an action-packed year of Irish football with two teams looking to get over the final hurdle and finish strong seasons off with silver.
In the red corner, hailing from Inchicore, St Patrick’s Athletic will aim to round off a term that saw them finish second in the league and secure some European football with a trophy to complement that.
In the (red and) black corner is Bohemians, the country’s entertainers who caught the eye in Europe and at home with their attacking football.
After dominating the PFAI Team of the Year selection, Bohs will want to nab some silverware before the core of their squad looks elsewhere (excluding Ross Tierney, who already has a flight to Motherwell booked).
Both teams have gone several years without a major honour to their name – Pats are hoping to break a seven-year duct while Bohs look to snap a 12-year streak without a league title or FAI Cup to their name.
The teams’ managers have inspired their sides in recent years which sees them meet in a battle for glory at the Aviva Stadium.
Stephen O’Donnell has breathed life back into The Athletic after several stale years saw them move into unremarkable territory.
A second-placed finish in the league sees them back with the big dogs but a trophy only solidifies it further.
Liverpool loanee Viteslav Jaros has improved their defence and himself over the course of the season, developing a commanding presence in his box and making Pats fans fall in love.
Bohs manager and former St Pats midfielder Keith Long has the chance to win an FAI Cup for the first time when his team walk out on the Lansdowne turf on Sunday afternoon.
The goalscoring antics of Donegal native Georgie Kelly and the creative presence of the likes of Tierney, Ali Coote and Dawson Devoy will be sure to cause many problems throughout the match.
Long will want to turn his team from entertainers to challengers next season and the FAI Cup final is the first step they will take on that journey.
Ruaidhri Higgins and his Derry City team will watch from afar after he revitalised a side languishing in the bottom half and led them to fourth in the league at the end of the season, ahead of Bohs.
Their European fate will be decided today – a Bohs win will see the Candystripes denied a run in the Europa Conference League next season.
It’s all to play for and a record Aviva crowd for an FAI Cup final will be watching eagerly as well as fans at home.
Bohemians (4-3-3): Talbot; Lyons, Cornwall, C. Kelly, Wilson; Buckley (C), Devoy, Tierney; Coote, Kelly, Burt.
Subs: McGuinness, Breslin, Finnerty, Levingston, Mullins, Ward, Mallon, Omochere.
St Patrick’s Athletic (4-2-3-1): Jaros; Barrett, Bone, Desmond, Bermingham (C); Benson, Lennon; Burns, Lewis, Forrester; Smith.
Subs: Murphy, Nwoko, Coughlan, McClelland, King, Melvin Lambert, Griffin, Hickman, Abankwah.
St Patrick’s Athletic 2/1
Where To Watch
The match will be available to watch live on RTÉ 2 with coverage beginning at 3:15 pm.