A fine attacking first-half display saw Ciaran Kilduff head the opening goal and Ronan Finn followed up with another fine shot to give Rovers a deserved 2-0 advantage at the break. Chris Turner was red-carded on the hour but the Hoops defence held out with Colin Hawkins and Oscar Jansson in good form.
On a warm but wet night in Drogheda the Hoops were quick off the blocks and McCabe and Kilduff combined on 5 minutes to set up Gary Twigg with a shot from the edge of the box but unfortunately the Scotsman didn't connect properly. Ronan Finn then forced a corner with a run into the box on the right before Chris Turner dragged a shot wide from 20 yards out.
The Drogs showed they were dangerous from set pieces when a corner from Gavin Brennan flashed across the Hoops goalmouth on 13 minutes. Oscar Jansson then made a good catch from Sean Brennans free-kick on the right.
[GOAL 0:1 - 16th min.] Gary McCabes corner on the left was met with a fine jump from Ciaran Kilduff and he powered his header into the net.
Drogheda were stunned into action and G.Brennan's free-kick from mid-way inside the Hoops area required a fine catch from Jansson right under his cross-bar. The same player again fired a free-kick across the Hoops goal on 20 minutes but at the other end Byrne did well to deny Finn as he cut into the box following Kilduff's pass.
The Hoops started to turn the screw and Gary McCabe turned well outside the box and forced Sava in the Drogs goal to get down low to save his shot. On 29 minutes some great work by Finn on the right saw his powerful shot saved by Sava and Gary Twigg just couldn't force the rebound on target.
A minute later Finn was in the action again this time unleashing a fine shot on the left hand side of the box and Sava did well to dive to his right to push away his shot.
[GOAL 0:2 - 32nd min.] There was no denying the Hoops midfielder in the 32nd minute when McCabe won possession and passed to Twigg who fed Finn on the right and he skipped past a defender before shooting low past Sava and into the corner of the net.
The Drogs tried to get back into the game but Jansson was on hand to punch away G.Brennan's fine cross on 41 minutes and two minutes later Gary McCabe almot caught out the Drogs 'keeper when his free-kick from a tight angle on the left was heading on target but Sava dived across his goal to push the ball away.
The second half started with a chance for Drogheda but Crowley couldn't hit the target from Hynes knock-down. On 57 minutes Jansson had to advance from his goalmouth to clear a dangerous through ball and a minute later Gary McCabe made space for himself but shot over the bar from outside the box.
The game changed on the hour when Chris Turner received a straight red card from Referee Hancock for an off the ball incident with Paul Crowley with the Drogs man receiving a yellow. From the resultant free-kick McNally hooked the ball across goal but the Drogs attack couldn't take advantage.
Rovers were forced to defend as the Drogs seized the initiative and Jansson was quick off his line to dive at the feet of O'Brien to clear the danger. The Hoops 'keeper then made a brilliant stop as G.Brennan crossed for his brother to flick the ball on goal but the Linesman had flagged for offside.
Try as they might the home side couldn't breach the Hoops defence and Jansson was on hand to claim any high balls into the area. With two minutes remaining G.Brennan beat Gilbert on the left-hand side of the box but Sives was on hand to block his shot.
It was all over for Drogheda when Prendergast got a second yellow card for a foul on Kilduff in the 89th minute and although there was a generous 5 minutes of added-on time played the Hoops held on comfortably to claim the three points.
Ciaran Kilduff celebrates his opening goal....Picture by George Kelly