Drogheda United kicked off the 2016 First Division with a 2-1 win over Waterford United courtesy of goals from Sam O’Connor and Eoin Kirwan.
It was Drogheda United who started the brighter of the two sides and they took the lead through Sam O’Connor just six minutes in to the league opener. The goal came as Hyland played a perfect through ball into the feet of the former Athlone man who made no mistake, slotting by Corey Chambers from inside the box.
It was the Boynesiders’ who continued the stronger of the two sides as Aaron Ashe went close on two ocassions, just wide on the first and saved by Chambers second time round..
Waterford, however, almost equalised on 15 minutes as the impressive McAlavey seen his shot from close range saved by Dunican.
The game then went quiet until Drogheda doubled their lead on the stroke of half time through Eoin Kirwan. It was a move straight from the training ground as a free kick was header across goal by Derek Doyle and headed down by O’Connor to Kirwan who tapped home.
Waterford started the quicker of the two in the second half and got a goal back straight from the off through Eoin Rhodes.
Waterford were the better side in the second half as Drogheda grew tired. However, other than a Sinnott header at the back post, they didn’t create any clear cut chances and Drogheda hung to grab a winning start to life in the First Division.
Hero – Aaron Ashe
There were some great performances on both sides, with Anthony McAlavey and Sean Byrne impressing for the visitors. Jake Hyland and Sam O’Connor both had good performances for Drogheda but it was Aaron Ashe, who worked tirelessly on the wing, creating numerous chances, for himself and others, who impressed the most.
Drogheda United: Dunican; Deasy (Dempsey 60′), Cooney, Gallagher, Derek Doyle; Ashe (McGlynn 88′), Brennan (Mark Doyle 88′), Molloy, Hyland, Kirwan; O’Connor.
Unused Subs: McGuinness, Costello, Jackson, Donnelly.
Waterford United: Chambers; Buckley (Reidy 82′), Sinnott, Mackey, Dermody; O’Leary, O’Connor (Byrne HT), O’Brien, McAlavey; Gorman, Rhodes (Broaders 79′).
Unused Subs: Nugent, Murphy, Burns
Gerard Grimes, Pundit Arena.