Rónán MacNamara reports from Richmond Park
St Patrick’s Athletic cruised through to the second round of the FAI Cup with a thumping 6-0 win over Bray Wanderers in a sun-drenched Richmond Park this evening.
Billy King scored twice, bookending goals from Jason McClelland, Ben McCormack, Sam Bone and Paddy Barrett, as Stephen O’Donnell’s side put the Seagulls to the sword in Inchicore.
It’s now five wins out of five in all competitions for the Inchicore side since fans were permitted to return to games.
The first quarter of the game was rather uneventful as First Division outfit Bray held their own, and it took a fortuitous strike from King to break the deadlock and send the Saints on their way.
Having been found by the ever-impressive Jamie Lennon, King cut onto his right foot and his low shot trickled through the soft hands of Seagulls stopper Brian Maher to gift the hosts the lead.
It was cruel blow for the visitors, and particularly for their former keeper Maher, as they were more than a match for the Athletic in the opening quarter.
If the opening goal was a stroke of luck, there was nothing lucky about the second goal for Pats when Jason McClelland doubled the hosts lead.
The former UCD man met King’s delicious chip to the back post. McClelland guided his header back across goal leaving Maher helpless.
A first half goal and assist for the dazzling King, who attacked with zest and fervour as he entertained the home crowd with his stepovers, sometimes out-skilling himself as well as his opponents.
The second half was only ten minutes old when Ian Bermingham was sent rampaging down the left-hand side.
The veteran stood up a delightful cross and Ben McCormack used all of his neck muscles to send his header flying past Maher to put the game beyond doubt.
Such was the one-sided nature of proceedings the Saint’s rear guard decided to get in on the act as the tie was done and dusted.
A Sam Bone volley and a thunderous 25-yard strike that lifted the roof from centre back Paddy Barrett made it 5-0 to Stephen O’Donnell’s charges just after the hour mark.
King capped off a terrific individual display when he made it six as he drilled a left-footed effort across goal and it found the far corner.
Vitezslav Jaros was a mere spectator for the majority of the game in the Pat’s goal and the Liverpool loanee was replaced by another youngster as Josh Keeley was given his debut in between the sticks.
There was also a debut for Tommy Lonergan, who replaced King who strutted off the field to a standing ovation.
The hosts had a handball penalty claim turned down by referee John McLoughlin, who perhaps took sympathy upon the beleaguered Seagulls with six minutes of normal time remaining.
Pats march on to the next round as they chase a fourth FAI Cup triumph and their first since 2014.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Vitezslav Jaros(Josh Keeley 78); Lee Desmond (John Mountney 64), Sam Bone, Ian Bermingham (c), Paddy Barrett; Billy King (Thomas Lonergan 78), Jamie Lennon, Alfie Lewis (Kian Corbally 75), Jason McClelland, Ben McCormack; Matty Smith.
Subs not used: Barry Murphy, James Abankwah, Darragh Burns, Robbie Benson, Chris Forrester.
Booked: Sam Bone (11).
Bray Wanderers: Brian Maher; Aaron Barry (c), Dylan Barnett, Richie O'Farrell, Andrew Quinn (Sean Callan 76); Brandon Kavanagh (Gary Shaw 60), Daniel Jones, Darren Craven, Mark Byrne (Luka Lovic 60); Joe Doyle, Sam Verdon (Steven Kinsella 68).
Subs not used: Kian Clarke, Jack Ross, Cian Maher, Dean O'Shea.
Booked: Daniel Jones (32) .
Referee: John McLoughlin.
extratime.com Player of the Match: Billy King (St Patrick’s Athletic).