by Robert O'Reilly
Limerick made it back-to-back wins as they easily dismissed struggling Drogheda United 4-1 at United Park.
Danny Galbraith and Tam McManus gave Limerick a two-goal lead before Declan O’Brien pulled one back but a stunning strike seconds later from Shane Duggan and a goal direct from a corner by Shane Tracy sealed all three points.
Drogheda manager Robbie Horgan made four changes from the 2-0 defeat to Derry City as Gavin Brennan, Eric Foley, Cathal Brady and O’Brien all started. As for the Super Blues, McManus came in for Shaun Kelly in the only switch from the shock victory over St. Patrick’s Athletic.
The visitors took the lead on eight minutes as Patrick Nzuzi was allowed time and space to cross from the right and Galbraith swept the ball into the bottom corner of the net from 12-yards.
United came close to equalising soon after as Brennan evaded Nzuzi on the wing but his delivery was inches behind an unmarked Brady at the back-post.
Limerick capitalized on defensive errors in the Drogheda defense for their second goal on twenty-three minutes as McManus cut in from the right before firing the ball under Dave Ryan.
O’Brien came close to pulling a goal back for Drogheda on 28 minutes as he produced an overhead kick from Shane Grimes’ delivery but Barry Ryan was equal to the effort and pushed the ball over the bar. From the resulting corner, O’Brien headed the ball in at the near post and United were seemingly back in the game.
However, Limerick restored their two-goal advantage almost straight from the kick-off. The Super Blues captain Shane Duggan chipped the ball up in the air before dinking it over the head of Sean O’Connor and volleying into the corner of the net from 25-yards.
The Boynesiders pushed for a way back into the game but it was the visitors who extended their lead shortly after the interval. Shane Tracy’s in-swinging corner from the right went straight in, effectively ending the game as a contest.
Barry Ryan was eventually tested in the Limerick goal as he made two impressive saves to deny Brennan and Gary O’Neill in quick succession but the visitors missed chances of their own as they cut through the Drogheda defence at will.
Striker Rory Gaffney squandered a couple of opportunities when put through on goal while Dave Ryan tipped substitute Darragh Rainsford’s effort behind in virtually the final act of the game.
The result lifts Limerick up to sixth in the table while Drogheda have now suffered nine defeats in their last ten games with a trip to the champions St. Patrick’s Athletic on Monday.
by By Robert O'Reilly
Drogheda United and Limerick will meet in a ‘proverbial six-pointer’ clash according to United manager Robbie Horgan, kick-off 7.45pm at United Park.
Last week’s 2-0 defeat in the Brandywell against Derry City marked a run of eight losses in nine games for United as they have slipped to eight in the SSE Airtricity league table.
The Drogs will be without the injured pair of Michéal Schlingermann and Stephen Maher while Michael Daly will be suspended having accumulated four yellow cards this season. Gavan Holohan has overcome a knock sustained during last week’s defeat to Derry while both Gavin Brennan and Eric Foley will return to the squad having served suspensions.
As for the Shannonsiders, they will be looking to follow up on their excellent 2-0 victory over St. Patrick’s Athletic last week at Thomond Park. The result-marked Limerick’s first win in seven as they climbed to within two points of United ahead of tonight’s clash.
The Super Blues manager Stuart Taylor will be without the services of Robbie Williams and Shane Costelloe for the trip to Drogheda due to injury.
Drogheda were victorious in the reverse fixture earlier in the season as Declan O’Brien’s solitary strike was enough for all three points in United’s only away win of the campaign to date.
Speaking on Thursday, Drogheda manager Robbie Horgan stressed the need for his side to start beating the teams around them as the league table takes shape.
“I feel the lads gave a good response against Derry based on what happened at Dundalk, which we have now drawn a line through. We were disappointed with the goal we conceded in the first half as we were well in the contest. As the game progressed, we pushed more bodies forward for the equaliser but we were caught on the counter-attack which was a real sucker punch. Performance wise, it was much better but we still have a lot more improving to do. The game against Limerick tomorrow night is vital as they are right beside us in the table and it’s a proverbial six-pointer.
“I thought Sean O’Connor played very well considering that it was his debut, arguably he was our best performer. We are not hiding the fact that we have a very experienced side that hasn’t got a lot of young legs, so we need to compliment that especially when we play three games in the space of a week. Hopefully Sean will be an inspiration to the other younger members of the squad to force their way in.
“I don’t think that it is a bad time to face Limerick. Obviously it was an excellent victory for them against St. Pat’s last week but the reports I heard would suggest that there was some luck involved. Still, they will be coming to Drogheda full of confidence but it is all about us to be totally honest. We won our last home game against Bohs, which was a battle but we have beaten Limerick earlier this season and we will try to recreate those type of performances tomorrow night.”
Daire Doyle (Paul Andrews 46’)
Eric Foley (Paul Crowley 52’)
Cathal Brady (Carl Walshe 78’)
Danny Galbraith (Darragh Rainsford 86’)
Shane Tracy (Tony Whitehead 80’)
Tam McManus (Ross Mann 72’)
Declan O’Brien 29’
Danny Galbraith 8’
Tam McManus 23’
Shane Duggan 31’
Shane Tracy 49’
Daire Doyle (yellow) 10’
Gavin Brennan (yellow) 71’