report to follow
by Robert O'Reilly
Last year’s FAI Cup runners-up Drogheda United return to Cup action on Sunday as they face Munster Senior League side Ballynanty Rovers at Fairgreen, kickoff 2.30pm.
Drogheda suffered Cup final heartache last November as a stoppage time winner from Anthony Elding settled a thrilling encounter 3-2 in the favour of Sligo Rovers while many of the United squad from that day remain at the club.
Darius Kierans will be in charge for the game as Damien Richardson is missing due to a prior family commitment in London and the United assistant manager was encouraged by Drogheda’s performance in their midweek victory over Derry City.
“We had a few below par performances in the defeat to Bohemians last Friday, but it was important from our point of view not to dwell on it,” Kierans admitted. “We didn’t play well but there were only small margins in the defeat and it was great that the Derry game came only a couple of days later.”
Drogheda reached the third round of the competition after they defeated Cockhill Celtic 4-2 back in June courtesy of a Declan O’Brien hat trick but Ballynanty may pose a sterner test.
Rovers were defeated in this year’s FAI Junior Cup final by St. Michael’s and manager Damian Conway is expected to have a full squad to select from for the visit of United.
A victory against Ballynanty would see the Drogs progress to the quarter-finals of the competition for the third successive season but Kierans is adamant that his side are not looking beyond Sunday’s clash.
“Sometimes league form can go out the window in Cup competitions but you always want to go into these games with a positive mindset and that’s why the victory over Derry was so important. It’s a huge game for Ballynanty as they have noting to lose and will play with no fear so we have to be professional and give them the respect that they deserve.”
Stephen Maher is the only absentee for United as he continues his recovery from injury but it was the performances of two of the club’s recent signings that is giving Kierans reason for optimism as Drogheda enter the business end of the season.
“The most encouraging aspect of the win midweek were the performances of Peter McGlynn and Garreth Brady, both who haven’t played that much since arriving at the club, so there is strength in depth in the squad now that we didn’t have earlier in the season which bodes well for the final few weeks of the campaign.”
Shane Doran (Andrew Leydon 63’)
Derek Hanlon (
Eddie Radcliffe (Brian Doran 50’)
Shane Grimes (Roy Kierans 48’)
Michael Daly (Paul Crowley 48’)
Peter McGlynn (Garreth Brady 62’)
Gavan Holohan 24’ & 44’
Gary O’Neill 47’ & 76’
Brian Doran (yellow) 50’