Elding elated after grabbing cup winner
Striker hails team-mate’s contribution while Prendergast feels let down by referee
Sligo Rovers’ Anthony Elding celebrates after scoring the winning goal in yesterday’s FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Anthony Elding might have the look of a hard man but as he wanders through the mixed zone at the Aviva stadium not long after scoring the winner in a compelling FAI Cup final he admits to having just encountered his inner softer side.
“I was crying when I was running off celebrating; it was a fantastic feeling you know, I’ll treasure that for the rest of my life.”
He had, he admitted, Danny North to thank for the memory. His own selection had come at the expense of the 26-year-old but the pair of them had combined for Sligo’s third goal and hinted that he had been a little surprised that his team-mate hadn’t gone for goal when there was a hat-trick to be had.
“Danny’s come on and fair play to the lad,” he said. “He’s kept his head down, he’s stayed focused, he’s got a couple of great goals and he could have his hat-trick in the end. To set me up at the end when normally maybe a striker would shoot. . . but he’s set me up when I’m maybe in the better position . . . it’s fantastic team spirit.”
You might think it augers well for next season but neither knows whether he will be at the club now that their contract is up.
Drogheda manager Mick Cooke knows for sure he will be moving on and clearly it rankles. “I wish the next manager the best of luck but if second in the league and four cup finals is not enough then God help him!” he said as he left this group of players in the dressing room for the very last time.
He was philosophical about the free that had upset his players and resulted in the sending off of his skipper, Derek Prendergast, insisting his players “should have been on their toes.” Inevitably, the centre-half saw it differently.
“Referees make mistakes, they’re only human, but cup finals. . . we are after putting our whole season into this and we are after losing out to a contentious decision.
“Paul (Tuite) in previous games has been a great referee but today he’s made a mistake. When I went over to him after the game he basically just said sorry to me and dropped his head.”