by Robert O'Reilly
A solitary Pat Hoban strike settled the second Louth derby of the season as Dundalk deservedly defeated Drogheda United 1-0 at Hunky Dorys Park.
A tense game, low on both quality and chances, seemed destined to end in stalemate before Stephen McDonnell played in Hoban who calmly slotted past Michael Schlingermann with only 15 minutes left to play.
The home side made two changes from the team that defeated Bohemians in the FAI Cup as Schlingermann and Brian Gannon came in for Gabriel Sava and Stephen Quigley while Dundalk replaced the suspended pair of Stephen O’Donnell and John Sullivan with McDonnell and Chris Shields.
United had an excellent opportunity to test Peter Cherrie in the Dundalk goal after only three minutes as a handball from Andy Boyle saw Peter Hynes fizz a free kick well wide from a dangerous position.
Drogheda almost shot themselves in the foot sixty seconds later as a casual clearance from Alan Byrne was blocked down by Keith Ward and he almost capitalised before Schlingermann’s intervention.
Ex Lilywhite and Drogheda captain Declan O’Brien almost added to his impressive tally of ten league goals so far this season as his curled effort was diverted wide by Cherrie at full stretch.
A typically frantic derby was error strewn and a misplaced pass in midfield resulted in the next opportunity for Dundalk as a John Dillon cross rolled invitingly across the six yard box before Richie Towell’s goal bound effort was blocked by Cathal Brady.
The biggest talking point of the game came on the brink of half time as a quickly taken thrown in released John Mountney behind the flat footed Byrne and with the ball seemingly going for a goal kick, Hoban slipped the ball past Schlingermann from an acute angle. However, much to the dismay of the jubilant Town fans, the assistant referee dubiously adjudged the ball to have gone out of play.
There was little to separate the sides in the early stage of the second half as speculative efforts from distance was the best either could produce. Dundalk appeared threatening on the counter attack and a vital interception from Ryan Brennan denied Dillon from racing clear on goal.
With 66 minutes played, Drogheda created their best chance of the game. A deflected cross into the box from Brian Gannon found its way to Paul O’Connor whose volley was blocked by Shields into the path of Gary O’Neill who acrobatically volleyed the ball goalwards only for Cherrie to spectacularly deny him.
That miss would prove costly as ten minutes later, Gannon was dispossessed on the halfway line and McDonnell released Hoban who used the recovering McNally as a shield to slot the ball home and give the Lilywhites a deserved lead.
Dundalk were reduced to ten men with seven minutes remaining as John Mountney was shown a second yellow card by referee Alan Kelly for blatantly diving inside the box under no contact from Byrne.
United were unable to create anything of note in the final stages as Dundalk comfortably saw out the remaining minutes and could have added a second but Towell’s free kick was blocked down by the Drogheda wall.
This was Dundalk’s first victory in the Louth derby in six games as they took full advantage of a lacklustre performance from the hosts who will aim to bounce back in Fridays clash away to Cork before the midseason break.
by Robert O'Reilly
Drogheda United will be without four key players for Monday night’s derby clash against Dundalk at Hunky Dorys Park, kick off 8pm.
Red cards in the defeat to Bray Wanderers mean that Mick Cooke will be without Gabriel Sava and David Cassidy while Captain Derek Prendergast and Eric Foley miss out due to injury.
The Lilywhites also have several absentees as ex Drogs John Sullivan and Darren Meenan are suspended while Stephen O’Donnell, Chris Shields and John Mountney are all unavailable.
Drogheda threw away a two goal lead inside two minutes when the sides met earlier in the season as goals from Graham Rusk and Ryan Brennan were cancelled out by Keith Ward and John Dillon.
Dundalk have enjoyed an excellent start under new manager Stephen Kenny and they sit in fourth, eight points and two places above the Boynesiders.
With this in mind, Mick Cooke is eager to win the bragging rights in Louth and to close the gap on the top four and the European places.
“The local derby is always a great occasion and the weather should be perfect to wrap up what has been a wonderful weekend of football. Dundalk obviously are doing what we did last season, they are the real surprise package of the league. They are playing some good football but we are well capable of that and it should be a good game, it will also determine who has the bragging rights for the next 10 weeks or so.
“We both had good wins in the cup last weekend, I think when you look at what Bohemians did to Sligo last night it makes our 3-0 win over them at Dalymount look more impressive. I think since our Setanta Cup defeat we have have put in good performances but we haven’t got the results we deserved, but that win over Bohs saw us back to our best and doing what we did last year. It gave the squad a lot of confidence.”
No live event scheduled for this date
Jason Marks (Gavin Brennan ’61)
Peter Hynes (Gary O’Neill ’61)
Declan O’Brien (Captain)
Mark Rossiter (Captain)
Keith Ward (Tiarnán Mulvenna ’55)
John Dillon (Eoghan Osborne ’86)
Patrick Hoban (Vinny Faherty ’89)
Alan Byrne ’58
Alan McNally ’86
John Mountney ’45+1 (yellow) & ’83 (red)
Patrick Hoban ’54 (yellow