by Robert O'Reilly
Drogheda United warmed up for the FAI Cup Final with a hard fought victory over Bohemians at Hunky Dorys Park.
Declan O’Brien took his tally for the season to 19 goals in all competitions when he fired Drogheda in front on 32 minutes with the only goal of a tight encounter.
Drogheda manager Mick Cooke, in what appears to be his last home game in charge, made eight changes from last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Sligo as he gave several fringe players a chance to impress ahead of the showpiece at the Aviva stadium.
As for Bohs, they were without striker Dinny Corcoran who picked up an injury in training on Thursday as former Drogheda boss Bobby Browne selected Conor Murphy up front in a 4-5-1 formation.
The game sparked into life after 20 minutes as an acrobatic volley from O’Brien was parried behind by Bohs keeper Dean Delaney and from the resulting corner Jason Marks’ delivery was dropped on the line by Delaney but no Drogheda player was following in to capitalise.
Bohemians played their part in a competitive first half and they were unfortunate not to go ahead when Conor Murphy beat two United players on the edge of the box but his shot sailed wide and then Karl Moore saw his powerful free kick from 25 yards crash against the bar.
Mick Daly missed an excellent opportunity to break the deadlock for the home side as he failed to keep his header on target after Delaney once again pushed O’Brien’s effort across goal.
Drogheda opened the scoring seconds later as O’Brien raced onto a long ball behind the Gypsies’ defence to fire high into the net from inside the box.
United survived two goal line scrambles to go in at the interval with the lead as firstly Conor Murphy’s goal bound effort was blocked before Dave Mulcahy saw his header stopped by Schlingermann.
David Cassidy raced through on goal on 48 minutes but he chose to pass with only Delaney to beat and ten minutes later the dangerous Conor Murphy dribbled past Alan McNally but the Bohs striker was caught in two minds before being harried away from goal.
Bohemians committed more players forward in the second half in hope of getting an equaliser and Alan Byrne headed off the line after Schlingermann was caught out by the flight of the ball. Bohs should have earned a share of the spoils when a deep cross into the box found Conor Murphy but the striker headed wide when it seemed easier to score.
Substitute Gavin Brennan clipped the post for Drogheda in stoppage time but it mattered little as Drogheda ended their league season with a win while results elsewhere have guaranteed Bohs their premier division status for 2014.
Attention now turns to the FAI Cup Final on the 3rd of November where Drogheda United will be aiming to cause an upset against Sligo Rovers to lift the famous Cup for only the second time in their history.
by Robert O'Reilly
Drogheda United will be aiming to finish a disappointing league campaign in style when they take on Bohemians at Hunky Dorys Park, kickoff 7.45pm.
The Boynesiders tasted defeat last weekend to fellow cup finalists Sligo Rovers as a much changed side lost 3-1 at the Showgrounds, their eleventh defeat in the league this season.
United are certain to finish the campaign in 8th place following a poor run of form and they have now gone seven games without a win since they defeated Bray Wanderers 2-0 at the end of August.
Ryan Brennan will be missing for Drogheda through suspension while Derek Prendergast, Paul O’Connor and David Cassidy will all require late fitness tests ahead of the game.
As for the away side, Bohemians may still be dragged into the relegation playoff position should results go against them, victories for both UCD and Bray and a defeat to Drogheda would see the Gypsies finish second from bottom.
Former Drogheda manager Bobby Browne should have a full squad to choose from although there are slight doubts over the availability of Anto Murphy and Dave Mulcahy due to injury.
Drogheda eliminated Bohemians from the Ford FAI Cup en route to the final but there has been little between the sides in the league with the previous two meetings ending in draws.
Speaking ahead of the game, Drogheda manager Mick Cooke stressed the importance of building momentum ahead of the cup final at the Aviva Stadium on the 3rd of November.
“Obviously it’s the last league game of the season and it’s always a bit of an occasion. It’s a game I certainly want to win, I want a win under our belt heading into the cup final.
“Bohemians of course will want to win also, other results could see them safe, but that’s not how they will be looking at it, they will want to win just as much as us. So it means the last game of the season for both has a lot riding on it.
“It’s the last chance for a few players to prove that they should be in the cup final squad, I’ve been tinkering with the team the last few weeks and tomorrow I’ll be having a last look at the team. “
Derek Prendergast (captain)
David Cassidy (Eric Foley 62’)
Declan O’Brien (Peter Hynes 73’)
Jason Marks (Gavin Brennan 80’)
Ryan McEvoy (Owen Heary 80’)
Karl Moore (Andy Mulligan 63’)
Kevin Devaney (Keith Buckley 70’)
Declan O’Brien 32’