Aaron Greene scored twice to help Sligo Rovers defeat St Patrick’s Athletic 5-1 and reach their first Setanta Sports Cup final with a 7-1 aggregate victory.
It marked a 54th birthday Pat’s manager Liam Buckley may care to forget as he watched his side crumble worryingly while suffering a second humbling defeat at Richmond Park inside a fortnight.
His opposite number, Ian Baraclough, will hope that the win and performance will finally spark their season to life as they look forward to the May 10 final against either Dundalk or Shamrock Rovers.
With six changes from the side that beat Shamrock Rovers on Friday, St. Patrick’s, two down from the first leg, needed to start positively.
That they did, initially at least, with Keith Fahey perhaps needing to do a little better than shoot tamely at Gary Rogers after a neat one-two with Chris Forrester. Lee Lynch then had a goal-bound header cleared away for a corner by Evan McMillan, all inside the opening eight minutes.
It was a false dawn though as Sligo settled comfortably and all but killed the tie off when punishing poor defending to score two fine goals inside five minutes.
Former Pat’s midfielder Joseph Ndo, playing behind lone striker Greene, instigated the first before scoring the second.
The opener came on 21 minutes from a fine passing move. Begun by Ndo, David Cawley’s killer ball then put Kieran Djilali away on the right and the low cross was finished emphatically at the back post by Greene.
The second, five minutes later, exposed St. Pat’s down their opposite flank. Ross Gaynor sent Danny Ledwith to the end line and his cross was controlled and then blasted to the net by Ndo.
Further defensive frailties haunted the home side as Sligo added a third on 38 minutes.
Cawley’s ball over the top all too easily put Greene in the clear and his finish was sublime as he shot left-footed across Brendan Clarke to the back of the net from a tight angle.
Lynch scored a fine goal from distance on 68 minutes for a Saints consolation.
But three minutes later Derek Foran turned a cross from Ledwith into his own net to just about sum up the Dublin side’s night.
John Russell, who won a title at Inchicore last season, added further woe when poking home a fifth ten minutes from time after Clarke could only parry a McMillan header from Danny North's corner.
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Conor McCormack, Ken Oman (Sean Hoare h/t), Derek Foran, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Keith Fahey (Sam Verdon h/t); Daryl Kavanagh, Lee Lynch, Chris Forrester (Marco Chindea 77), Ian Bermingham; Mark Quigley.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Evan McMillan, Kalen Spillane, Ross Gaynor; Kieran Djilali (Eric Odhiambo 77), Paul O’Conor, David Cawley, Danny Ledwith; Joseph Ndo (John Russell h/t); Aaron Greene (Danny North 65).
Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin).