by Shane Callaghan
Drogheda United have been knocked out of the FAI Cup after going down 5-0 to Derry City at the Brandywell.
Rory Patterson hit a second-half hat-trick in tonight’s quarter-final replay to spare Derry’s blushes, after they required an 84th-minute equaliser to draw 2-2 with eight-man Drogheda on Friday night.
United boss Damien Richardson had no fewer than five players suspended for the trip up north and it was not long before the hosts capitalised on Drogheda’s selection woes.
The hosts started confidently with Patrick McEleney firing City ahead after just six minutes by beating goalkeeper Michael Schlingermann from all of 20 yards.
The weakened Drogs side posed no threat to the Derry defence for the first 20 minutes of the game but appeared to settle and look a little more comfortable in the period approaching the break though not before their defence was left standing as Stephen Dooley shot just past Schlingermann’s left post on 21 minutes.
The Boynesiders managed to reach the half-time break with just the one-goal deficit, but Patterson struck on the hour mark to give Richardson’s charges an uphill task.
Michael Duffy added a third 12 minutes later to effectively kill off the contest, but the Candystripers added insult to injury as Patterson struck twice in the closing 10 minutes to seal his treble.
There were glimpses of hope during the second period from Carl Walshe and Cathal Brady but without the back-up of several suspended players, their best efforts were effectively snuffed out.
Drogheda resume their Airtricity League commitments on Saturday by facing Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds in a repeat of last season’s FAI Cup final.
by Robert O'Reilly
Derry City and Drogheda United will meet once again on Tuesday with a place in the semi-final of the FAI Cup at stake, kickoff 7.45pm at the Brandywell.
There was nothing to separate the sides during a 2-2 draw on Friday despite Drogheda having three men sent off in a controversial contest in which referee Derek Tomney emerged as a major talking point.
Peter McGlynn, Shane Grimes and Gavan Holohan were given their marching orders but a double from Alan McNally meant that the Candystripes required a late leveller from Phillip Lowry after Ryan McBride had opened the scoring in an action packed encounter.
Having played with nine men for the majority of the second half, Drogheda manger Damien Richardson was relieved to still be in the competition and praised the persistence that his side displayed.
“Friday was a night in which so much went against us but the heroic attitude of the players kept us on track and in the Cup,” Richardson said on Monday. “I admired the honesty and determination of the team to work that little bit harder and show such resolve not to concede. Although we are going to Derry with a weakened side due to the suspensions, I have great confidence in the group and I feel that we can do ourselves justice. It isn’t a forgone conclusion by any stretch of the imagination.”
The three dismissals on Friday means that United have now picked up ten red cards in all competitions this season though the Dubliner believes that ‘common sense’ could have been used given the importance of the game to both teams.
“I felt common sense went out the window on Friday. In isolated situations, I can see how the referee would have some justification for each red card but in the context of the game I think some rational would have been to the benefit of the occasion. Each incident could have been handled better by both parties, the referee and the players, as it wasn’t a dirty game and if people feel that my side lack discipline, they only have to look at the remainder of the players and the maturity that they showed to ensure that we got a result.”
Drogheda will be without as many as five suspended players for the trip north as McGlynn, Grimes and Holohan serve automatic bans while Mick Daly and Gavin Brennan both have one-match suspensions to serve. Gary O’Neill is a doubt having sustained a slight groin injury on Friday and the Drogheda manager is aware that his understrength side will need to be at their best in order to progress.
“We will need a special performance tomorrow night, we know that as we are down to the bare-bones. There will be a number of the under 19’s and 17’s on the bench so it will need a terrific display in terms of both character and quality from the eleven players selected but I’m confident that we will come up with something good at the Brandywell.”
Patrick McEleney 6’
Rory Patterson 60’
Michael Duffy 72’
Rory Patterson 81’
Rory Patterson 90+1’