by Robert O'Reilly
For the second year running, Limerick ran out 4-1 winners at United Park as Drogheda’s plummet towards the bottom of the table continued.
Three goals inside the opening 13 minutes from Vinny Faherty, Ian Turner and Darragh Rainsford left the hosts shellshocked and although Tiarnan Mulvenna pulled one back, Robbie Williams sealed a facile victory for Limerick.
Drogheda United manager Johnny McDonnell made three changes from the side that lost 3-0 to Derry City in the FAI Cup as Joe Gorman, Stephen Maher and new signing Keith Treacy all started.
Treacy almost made an immediate impact as his low free kick delivery was parried by Limerick goalkeeper Freddy Hall before play was stopped for an offside.
The visitors took the lead with only five minutes played as Faherty’s was unmarked at the near post and he diverted the ball past Micheál Schlingermann in goal.
It was 2-0 five minutes later when Williams was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by referee Jim McKell and Turner kept his cool to send his penalty down the middle.
A shocking start from Drogheda was punished further on 13 minutes as Turner was afforded too much space on the right and he cross for Rainsford who powered a header into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Drogheda were offered a lifeline on 26 minutes as an incisive pass from Treacy found Lee Duffy but the striker was tackled as he was about to shoot with the loose ball falling to Mulvenna who finished low into the bottom corner.
Despite the reprieve, Limerick still looked the more likely to score next with Shane Tracy’s stunning 25 yard free kick cannoning back off the cross bar before Williams made it 4-1 with the Drogheda marking once again missing,
Drogheda started the second half brightly and they struck the frame of the goal as Treacy’s corner from the right was misjudged by Hall with Kelly eventually clearing the danger.
Duffy was next to test the Bermudan stopper as his strike from the edge of the box was pushed over following good approach play from Jason Marks.
Limerick regained control of the game after the hour mark and they were unfortunate not to add to their advantage as both Sean Russell and Paul O’Conor missed the target late on.
Drogheda will need a drastic turnaround in both results and performances if they are to climb out of the relegation battle with Derry City away next Saturday.
Stephen Maher (Adam Whelan 71)
Keith Treacy (Mark Hughes 65)
Tiarnan Mulvenna (Ger Pender 79)
Sean Russell (Tony Whitehead 84)
Darragh Rainsford (Val Feeney 72)