Mason Melia's incredible record and St Pat's youthful revolution
The Super Saints had four teenagers involved in their cup final win.
St Patrick's Athletic, Bohemians, Mason Melia and just under 44,000 fans were breaking records all over Dublin on FAI Cup Final day.
On Sunday, St Pat's and Bohemians met in the FAI Cup Final at a sold-out Aviva Stadium. The 43,881 in attendance at the game made it the biggest ever crowd for a cup game in Ireland.
It was not the only record broken, as 16-year-old Mason Melia, who has already been linked with Manchester City, got onto the pitch about 20 minutes into the second half. Melia became the youngest player to appear in an FAI Cup Final and, at full-time, became the youngest player to win it.
Bohemians took the lead when Jonathan Afolabi converted from the spot after he was fouled in the box. Mark Doyle headed in an equaliser for St Pat's before an unfortunate own goal put them in the lead. Teenage forward Tommy Lonergan sealed victory with a superb shot from outside the box.
The Pat's supporters were quick to celebrate the 3-1 victory as they surrounded the players' bus with flares on its way back to Inchicore.
St Pat's teenage talents
Mason Melia is a natural finisher of the ball and glides away from defenders with his ease. He is also dangerous in the box and can finish both with his head or feet. He is an exciting prospect for supporters of the club and one can see why top sides in England are already monitoring him. He has signed a three-year senior contract with the club and they will be hoping he continues his development in Dublin 8.
Melia is not the only young talent this St Pats team have, as three other teenagers were on the pitch when the final whistle rang out, including 19-year-old Tommy Lonergan, who scored their third goal.
Lonergan, at just 19, has the 10 jersey in his possession, which shows how highly the club value him. He came through the club's academy system then went to UCD for a senior stint before returning to Inchicore for this season. His dribbling and finishing skills are clear for all to see.
A huge teenage prospect is the 17-year-old Sam Curtis, who first played for the club's U19 team back in July 2021, has shown his worth throughout the season. He has played plenty of minutes as the club finished third in the league as a cup winners. He is a natural right back with great defensive skills and awareness, and already has a fine passing range.
Curtis is a great dribbler of the ball with his quick acceleration, he is already considered to be one of the best full-backs in the league. His contract is due to end at the end of the year and several Premier League sides, such Manchester City and United, are already monitoring him. Completing the quartet is 18-year-old Adam Murphy, who came off the bench in the second half of that 3-1 win over Bohs.
It is no wonder the coaching team have such faith in these young players as they have shown their hunger and talents for the game both on the training field and in some big matches.
If Pat's can hold on to these young stars a while longer, they should be in good shape to push the likes of Shamrock Rovers and Derry City in the coming seasons.
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