04 April 2010

Drogheda United v Shamrock Rovers

Match Report

Drogheda United 0 Shamrock Rovers 4

This game was a big wakener-upper, as if we needed one. Following our trip to Sligo the other week, we have now met the two best sides in the premier division. As in Sligo, we were comprehensively outplayed all across the park, but one of the most alarming aspects of this match was the ease with which many Rovers players brushed off our ineffectual physical challenges.

Right from the start we were under the cosh, and a feature of the opening 15 minutes was that it was all hands on deck at the back and our midfield was pinned back with last minute saving tackles being the order of the day. We hoped that the early Rovers onslaught would be only temporary and that we would make our mark in the middle after a while, but this was not to happen. Robert Kovacsevics came into the middle at the back and had a good debut, albeit in a defence which was under pressure for almost the whole 90 minutes.

After numerous chances created by well-crafted Rovers’ moves and naïve defending by us, Rovers eventually took the lead when Dennehy found the unmarked Twigg in front of goal and the striker made no mistake. We were lucky not to be at least three down by half time, but went in 1-0. At half time Mick assessed the situation, conscious of the fact that we were being outplayed all over the park, and took off Lester and Colin O’Brien and put on Costigan and McCrossan for the second half, but there was little they could do to stem the tide and Rovers added three more goals on 49, 56 and 73 to make this their most comprehensive victory over the Drogs in Hunky Dorys Park in a long time.

This defeat brings the realities of Premier Division 2011 football home to us all, OK we won’t be playing Rovers and Sligo every other week, but there is a certain amount of tightening up we need to do. In a way the half time substitutions today and the performance in Bray will have given Mick a chance to view all the pretenders to first team places and decide who his best eleven are. And dare I say it – the home match against Galway next week will be a six-pointer, even at this early stage in the season.

Of course, when we went back to the Widda’s afterwards, nobody wanted to talk about footballer and as the amber nectar flowed and the reality of bottom place in the division faded somewhat, we decided to try and sort out the banking crisis, because we’re all in this together and it’s up to every man and beast in the country to do what he can to help. But this was too big a task for such a small group of people and we eventually decided to postpone the debate when we found that there was something a lot more palatable on the TV in the lounge and for a short time we successfully evaded reality.

Team: David Quirke; Robert Kovacsevics, Brian Gannon, Stephen Quigley, Gareth Whelan; John Lester (Anthony Costigan, HT), Philip Hand, Mark O’ Brien (Jack Flynn, 59), Colin O’ Brien (Stephen McCrossan, HT); David Freeman, Dinny Corcoran

Subs not used: Philip McDonagh, Darragh Hanaphy, Sean Skelly, Stephen Trimble

Bookings: Mark O’ Brien and Robert Kovacsevics