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Sunday, 27 October, 2002, 15:45 GMT
Coyle strike wins FAI Cup
Derry endured some nervous moment in the closing stages before claiming the FAI Cup
Derry's players celebrate after lifting the FAI Cup
Derry City 1-0 Shamrock Rovers

Liam Coyle's stunning second half strike secured a third Carlsberg FAI Cup success for Derry City.

The northerners had been second best during the opening half but Coyle's goal two minutes after the break turned the match on its head.

David Kelly, playing his final competitive match before taking on a backroom role at Tranmere Rovers, should have added to Derry's lead two minutes later.

The miss could have proved crucial as Rovers had several opportunities to level including a couple of injury time chances which somehow the Derry defence cleared to safety.

But while Derry skipper Eamon Doherty deservedly earned the man-of-the-match award, there was no doubting that veteran Coyle had been the hero.


I just threw myself at the ball and then heard the roar
Liam Coyle

"I can't remember much about the goal," said Coyle afterwards.

"There was a corner and Ciaran Martyn mishit it.

"I just threw myself at the ball and then heard the roar. I didn't even see it going into the net," added the veteran.

Apart from Coyle's tremendous goal, the final will also be remembered for a bizarre first half interruption caused by a fire which started near where many of the Shamrock Rovers fans were positioned.

The use of fire extinguishers in the windy conditions meant smoke billowed towards some supporters and a number of fans spilled out on to the pitch.

Coyle turned to hammer in a glorious goal
Liam Coyle produced a remarkable finish

The game was held up for eight minutes but fortunately, there didn't appear to be any injuries.

Prior to the unscheduled break, the action had been dull with Tony Grant's weak eighth minute effort the only decent chance in the opening quarter.

Rovers picked up the pace in the second quarter and Derry goalkeeper Alan Gough had to make great saves to deny Terry Palmer and Luke Dimech.

However, Derry had chances of their own with Paddy McLaughlin having a chance blocked and Sean Friars seeing a header well-saved by Tony O'Dowd.

Coyle's 47th minute goal came when he somehow turned to lash Martyn's mishit effort past the Rovers goalkeeper.

Kelly's missed chance two minutes later was a much easier opportunity but the former Republic of Ireland international pulled the chance across the face of goal.

Over 4,000 Derry fans travelled to Tolka Park
Derry fans after the final whistle

Coyle was called ashore 11 minutes after his goal with Tommy McCallion introduced to the Derry line-up.

The last half hour saw Derry living dangerously on several occasions.

Former Derry man James Keddy probably missed the best Rovers chance on 64 minutes when he nodded inches wide from pointblank range with the City defence nowhere to be seen.

Referee Jim O'Neill decided that five minutes of injury-time were needed at the death and Rovers looked certain to profit on two occasions during overtime.

However, Derry somehow held on to guarantee European football next season.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC's Eric White reports
"A marvellous day for Derry City"
See also:

25 Oct 02 | N Ireland
24 Oct 02 | N Ireland
04 Oct 02 | N Ireland
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