Drogheda United ran out comfortable 4-0 winners over Cabinteely at United Park thanks to goals from Sean Brennan, Eoin Kirwan and a late brace from substitute Aaron Ashe.
It was Drogheda who started the brighter of the two sides, testing Michael Kelly in the Cabinteely goal and winning a number of corners in the opening minutes. The home side almost took the lead a quarter of an hour in as a cross from Colm Deasy went over Kelly and bounced back off the crossbar.
Drogheda would take the lead just seven minutes later through Sean Brennan as the midfielder played a neat one-two with Sam O’Connor on the left wing before firing low past Kelly.
Drogheda continued to edge the game as the better side but Cabinteely did come more into the contest. The visitors went close to equalising just after the half hour mark as Karl Byrne was fouled by Stephen Dunne but the referee played advantage and Cabinteely striker Ben Hanrahan’s shot from range went just wide of the post.
Cabinteely had another great chance to score on 52 minutes through Karl Byrne but his effort fell straight to Stephen McGuinness. Drogheda doubled their lead four minutes later through a great team goal. Good play from Kirwan, Brennan and Hyland in the centre ended with Kirwan turning and firing past Kelly to make it 2-0.
The game then hit a bit of a dull spell before a scramble in the Drogheda box was eventually cleared thanks to a McGuinness save. Drogheda pushed forward in search of a third in the last 10 minutes and almost found it through Griffin but Andrew Wall had got back to put it out for a corner.
However, Drogheda would score more, two in two minutes, both through substitute Aaron Ashe. Ashe, who came on in the 80th minute, scored his first on 82 minutes as he sent a great looping header from a brilliant Deasy cross over the stranded Michael Kelly. He had his second a minute later as he cut out an attempted back pass from Andrew Wall and slotted the ball past Kelly to make it 4-0.
Ashe almost had a third in the 86th minute but was denied by Michael Kelly before Eoin Kirwan saw a final minute penalty appeal waved away.
The final whistle shortly followed and it was Drogheda who bounced back from their defeat to Shelbourne with a convincing 4-0 victory over Cabinteely.
What Happens Next?
Drogheda host table toppers Limerick next in a game that makes this victory over Cabinteely all the more important, especially after the 3-0 defeat to Shelbourne last week. Cabinteely, on the other hand, host Cobh Ramblers as Eddie Gormley’s men look to bounce back from three consecutive defeats, to Drogheda and Waterford in the league and Shelbourne in the EA Sports Cup.
Drogheda United: McGuinness; Deasy, Gallagher, Cooney (C), Dunne; Wixted (Ashe 80′), Brennan, Molloy, Hyland (D. Doyle 65′), Kirwan; O’Connor (Griffin 70′).
Unused Subs: Patrick Dunican (GK), Lloyd Buckley, Joseph Jackson, Liam Donnelly.
Yellow Card: Stephen Dunne 30’
Cabinteely: Kelly; Byrne (Cairns 74′), McDonagh, Wall, Knight (C); Boyle, Brilly, Brennan, Brown (Hanley 78′); Doyle, Hanrahan.
Unused Subs: Cathal Gillen (GK), Shane Heffernan, Sean Burke, Troy Owens, Ollie Hamzat.
Yellow Card: Oscar Brennan 57’, Karl Byrne 61’.
MOTM – Sean Brennan:
A performance that was completely the opposite of his last, in the 3-0 defeat to Shelbourne. Brennan was involved in nearly every Drogheda attack, kept and passed the ball well and was involved in the first two Drogheda goals, scoring the first and being heavily involved in the superb team move for the second.
Gerard Grimes, Pundit Arena.