By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United have kept the pressure on First Division leaders UCD after they defeated Cabinteely 2-0 at United Park.
Goals in either half from Chris Lyons and Mark Doyle sealed Drogheda’s fifth home win of the season and leaves them two points behind the Students with a game in hand.
Drogs manager Tim Clancy made one change from the side that defeated Galway United last week as Richie Purdy replaced the suspended Lee Duffy.
The visitors showed attacking intent from the off as they forced a succession of corners and long throw ins that the home side dealt with well.
Both Doyle and Lyons had snap shots well saved by Stephen McGuinness before Sean Brennan broke the Cabo defensive line only to see his close range effort stopped by the former Drogheda keeper.
United were applying pressure to the Cabo goal without creating many chances and it was from a set-piece that the deadlock was broken.
Brennan’s corner from the right was met by the head of Kevin Farragher and though the defender’s effort was blocked, Lyons was the one to react quickest to bundle the ball home for his sixth goal of the season.
Drogheda were fortunate to still be ahead 10 minutes into the second-half as Conor Keeley’s towering header at the back post was cleared off the line by Doyle.
It was nearly 2-0 in 67 minutes as substitute Gareth McCaffrey saw his run halted by Earley but the loose ball was met on the half-volley by Doyle only for the winger to be denied by a superb save.
Cabo brought a fine save out of Paul Skinner moments later as the Drogheda keeper tipped Conor Earley’s free-kick over the bar.
Doyle would eventually get the goal that his play deserved in stoppage time as he got on the end of McCaffrey’s inch-perfect cross to tap home at the back post for his eight goal of the campaign.
A fourth successive clean sheet sees Drogheda enter their most testing period of the season in fine form as they face Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Monday.
Drogheda United Team: Paul Skinner; Colm Deasy, Kevin Farragher, Ciaran Kelly, Conor Kane; Luke Gallagher, Richie Purdy, Sean Brennan (William Hondermarck 90’), Jake Hyland: Mark Doyle, Chris Lyons (Gareth McCaffrey 65’)
Subs: Luca Gratzer, Lloyd Buckley, Victor Ekanem, Kealan Dillon, Eoin McPhillips
Cabinteely: Stephen McGuinness; Karl Byrne, Conor Keeley (Sean Fitzpatrick 72’), Sean Bregazzi (Kieran Marty Waters 46’), Kevin Knight; Jack Tuite, Conor Earley, Jack Watson, Dean Casey (Christian Lotefa 46’) Luke Clucas, Keith Dalton
Subs: Andy O’Reilly, Eoghan Morgan, Sean Hyland
DroghedaUnited.ie Man of the Match: Conor Kane