By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United picked up their biggest win of the season as they comfortably dismissed Cabinteely 4-0 at United Park.
Sean Brennan gave Drogheda a deserved first-half lead before a second-half strike from Eoin Kirwan and a double from substitute Aaron Ashe sealed United’s first win in four games.
Drogheda United manager Pete Mahon made four changes from the side that lost 3-0 to Shelbourne last week as Stephen McGuinness, Colm Deasy, Jake Hyland and Sam O’Connor started in place of Patrick Dunican, Lloyd Buckley, Derek Doyle and Ashe.
The home side dominated possession from the off but they nearly took the lead in fortuitous fashion as Deasy’s cross from 35 yards caught Michael Kelly off guard and the Cabinteely goalkeeper tipped the ball onto the bar before Andrew Wall cleared the loose ball.
Drogheda weren’t to be denied for long though as they hit the front midway through the half as a fine passing move down the left resulted in Brennan playing a one-two with O’Connor and the former slotted the ball across Kelly and into the far corner for his first goal of the season.
On a rare attack forward, Cabinteely almost capitalised on a mistake in possession by Stephen Dunne as he lost the ball and Ben Hanrahan struck a low drive which flew past McGuinness’ far post.
Cabo created a further opportunity early in the second-half when Joe Doyle broke free down the left and his shot was parried by McGuinness before Oscar Brennan’s follow-up strike was blocked behind by Aaron Molloy.
Drogheda eventually doubled their lead on 58 minutes as Brennan and Hyland combined to pick out Kirwan in the box and his first time strike was deflected past Kelly into the far corner for his second goal of the season.
The visitors carried a threat on the counter-attack and they almost pulled a goal back when Edward McDonough sent a low ball into the box which caused confusion in the Drogheda defence before McGuinness intervened with Hanrahan waiting to pounce.
Drogheda introduced Marc Griffin into the action in place of Sam O’Connor with 20 minutes left to play and the striker came close to adding a third as he exploited a loose ball in the Cabinteely half but his strike was blocked behind for a corner from the recovering defender.
From the resulting set-piece, the ball was worked back to Deasy and his in-swinging cross into the box was headed goalwards by Ashe and with Kelly off his line, the ball looped into the far corner to effectively end the game as a contest.
The scoring wasn’t finished there though as Drogheda’s high press saw Ashe take advantage of an underhit backpass to fire beyond Kelly from eight yards out for his second goal in as many minutes.
It was almost the perfect introduction for Ashe as he got on the end of Deasy’s cutback but his strike was pushed behind by the overworked Kelly as the forward had to settle for a brace.
The 4-0 scoreline sees Drogheda match their biggest home win since beating UCD in August 2014 and they will be hoping for a similar outcome next week when they host table toppers Limerick at United Park.
Adam Wixted (Aaron Ashe 80)
Jake Hyland (Derek Doyle 65)
Sam O’Connor (Marc Griffin 70)
Karl Byrne ( Lloyd Cairns 74)
Michael Brown (Stephen Hanley 78)
Sean Brennan 22
Eoin Kirwan 56
Aaron Ashe 82,83