Reigning FAI Cup holders St. Patrick's Athletic were dumped out of the competition in the opening round this afternoon, going down 3-2 to a spirited Waterford side at Richmond Park.

All the goals came in a topsy-turvy first half with both sides taking turns of having the lead.

Pat's were celebrating last Thursday after their superb victory over NS Mura, but this was a real come down ahead of the UEFA Europa Conference League third round clash with CSKA Sofia next week.

It was the hosts who found themselves behind in a truly breathless encounter when Wassim Aouachria turned home a brilliantly whipped Phoenix Patterson cross from the right, but the holders responded immediately as the lively Ronan Coughlan levelled from the spot sending Paul Martin the wrong way.

The game was resembling something of a basketball game as both sides missed glorious chances to take the lead.

Joe Redmond’s looped header clipped the outside of the post before Aouchria missed a one-on-one.

The Saints got their noses in front with a half hour played when Dutch midfielder Thijs Timmermans delivered an inviting free kick from the left wing that found the head of Tom Grivosti at the back post, who powered his header home.

But The Blues, sitting third weren’t in Inchicore to make up the numbers and responded immediately thanks to a mistake from Pat’s attacker Serge Atakayi, who’s tame back pass fell to the feet of big number nine Aouchria who made no mistake.

Wassim Aouachria was on the double for the visitors

As the frenetic half drew to a close it was the visitors who retook the lead thanks to a classy left footed curler from Junior Quitirna.

Tim Clancy emptied the bench with a triple substitution at the break with the introduction of Chris Forrester and Adam O’Reilly in the middle of the park and Billy King on the right hand side.

Wave after wave of Pat’s attacks continued but perhaps a hint of desperation and tiredness began to kick in as Martin remained relatively untroubled, and despite the introduction of talisman Eoin Doyle on the hour mark, the threat eventually began to fade.

Coughlan missed two glorious chances to level, both from Anto Breslin deliveries on the left wing, but failed to hit the target from inside the area as frustration grew. Despite missing a number of half chances, the al- important equaliser failed to materialise as the Saints fall at the first hurdle.

The Blues can now look forward to the draw for the second round which takes place on Tuesday at 12.30pm, while must regroup as they prepare to head to Bulgaria.

St. Patrick's Athletic: Joe Anang, Barry Cotter, Joe Redmond, Tom Grivosti, Jamie Lennon (Eoin Doyle, 60’), Ronan Coughlan (Tunde Owolabi, 73’), Serge Atakayi (Chris Forrester, 45’), Mark Doyle, Anto Breslin, Thijs Timmermans (Billy King, 45’), Paddy Barrett (Adam O’Reilly, 45’)

Subs not used: David Odumosu, Jason McClelland, Ben McCormack, Sam Curtis

Waterford FC: Paul Martin, Darragh Power, Richard Taylor, Niall O’Keeffe, Shane Griffin, Wassim Aouachria, Junior Quitirna, Tunmise Sobowale, Roland Idowu, Killian Cantwell, Phoenix Patterson

Subs not used: Dara Kavanagh, Jeremie Milambo, Nigel Aris, Callum Stringer, Remi Thompson, Owen Oseni, Dean Larkin