by Drogheda United
Mick Cooke had a depleted choice of forwards on Monday night with both Gary O’Neill and Graham Rusk out through injury, but you wouldn’t have known it from the performance that Drogheda United put in in the Brandywell.
On another night, the Boynesiders might have been left rueing a number of missed chances in the opening 20 minutes, with Derry struggling to get any foothold on the game, but tonight the Drogs will have made the long trip home reflecting instead on a winning performance.
The Candystripes gradually worked themselves back into the game following the embarrassment of Declan O’Brien’s 12th minute goal and went in at the break level with their opponents, thanks to a David McDaid volley in the 37th minute.
Despite the home side starting brightly in the 2nd half, it was the visitors who showed intent as they made a mockery of their league position and worked as a well-drilled and cohesive unit.
The Brennan brothers, who controversially appeared on the bench this evening, were instrumental in the two goals that followed their 59th minute arrival on the pitch, as Paul O’Conor and Jason Marks were called to the bench by the Drogheda manager.
It took just 7 minutes for Ryan Brennan to justify Mick Cooke’s decision as he slid the ball between two city players in the 66th minute to find David Cassidy who made no mistake about putting the Boynesiders ahead.
Derry’s best chance came five minutes later when they were awarded a free on the edge of the box but despite Rory Patteron’s shot smashing through the Drogheda wall, he had to watch it sail wide of the visitor’s goalpost.
It was club talisman Declan O’Brien who completed the demolition job on 77 minutes ably assisted by the older of the two Brennans, Gavin.
A comprehensive victory for Drogheda and a result that adds insult to the injury inflicted on Derry by Sligo last Friday.
Meanwhile, Drogheda will have to wait until the 13th August to learn whether the final will be a repeat of last year’s as Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers battle it out in Tallaght for the final place.
Thomas Crawley (Barry McNamee 65)
Paddy Kavanagh (Mark Griffin 72)
Rory Patterson (Patrick McEleney 72)
David Cassidy (Peter Hynes 85)
Jason Marks (Gavin Brennan 59)
Paul O’Conor (Ryan Brennan 59)
David McDaid 38
Declan O’Brien 12
David Cassidy 66
Declan O’Brien 77
Simon Madden 20 (yellow)