19s beat Drogheda
|Sunday, 25 March 2012 20:44|
Drogheda United 0:1 Shamrock Rovers
Drogheda United 0 Shamrock Rovers 1 (Moffat)
FAI Airtricity Under 19 League Sunday, 25th March, 2012 at Hunky Dorys Park
When these two teams met in the first round of the Enda McGuill Cup in late January the Hoops ran riot and put six past Drogheda without reply. Two things were sure before the teams took to the pitch at Hunky Dorys Park today - (1) Drogheda were going to be up for this one big time and (2) there was no way that Rovers were going to underestimate the home side. The opening exchanges were frantic and the pace of the game never let up right up to the final whistle. Referee Rob Clarke saw it necessary to have words with a couple of players as the temperature rose on the pitch as well as off it.
This is a game that Drogheda will look back upon and scratch their heads as they wonder how they didn’t kill off the Hoops long before the winning goal came. They could have scored twice as half time approached. In the first incident there was some hesitancy amongst the Hoops defenders and goalkeeper Lee Steacy was forced into a quick save to prevent Keith Boyle from scoring what looked likely to be a certain goal. Two minutes after that centre half Stephen Watters hit the upright after Dylan Kearney delivered a good free kick in from the right.
The Drogheda defence worked hard right from the word go in an effort to limit the Hoops prolific forwards Dean Ebbe and Sean Dixon and they did this to great effect. But Rovers did manage to exploit the wings, and a special mention must go to Lorcan Shannon who stood his ground despite close marking. It was from one such move involving Shannon that Ebbe had a good chance in the sixth minute but Drogs ‘keeper Shane Finnegan was like a leopard all afternoon, reacting quickly to everything that was happening in the box. In fact, Finnegan was the busier of the ‘keepers throughout the game, despite Drogheda having the best chances to score, particularly in the first half.
There was a spell after twenty minutes of play when it looked as though the Hoops were about to take control, as they very often do. But the tenacious battling qualities shown by the home side ensured that this didn’t last long. There was a battle royal in the middle of the park between Paul Moffat and Niall Forrester for Rovers and Dylan Kearney and Sean Challenger for Drogheda.
Declan Hevey takes the opportunity during a break in play to have a quick word with Lorcan Shannon
The second half began with some intense pressure being applied on Drogheda by Rovers as they hemmed their opponents into their own area but again they couldn’t impose their will on a determined home team. Rovers best chance during the early part of the second half came when Shannon did brilliantly to send the ball in high to Ebbe but the latter headed it just wide of the target. Ten minutes after that and Rovers had another great chance to open the scoring when Kelvin Jackson picked out Dixon in the box but somehow the home centre halves, Stephen Watters and Eoin Smyth managed between them to block the danger and get the ball clear. The Rovers goal had a lucky escape in the 64th minute when Boyle delivered in from the left across the face of goal and Conor Osborne struck a shot that hit the post. It was another let off for Rovers. Nine minutes after that it looked like Donal Branagan might score for Rovers but Smyth made a brave intervention to deny the Hoops’ centre half and got a pat on the head from Finnegan in recognition of his effort.
The only goal of the game came in the 87th minute after Shannon put the ball into the box; there appeared to be a lot of panic and with so many players in and around the area it was difficult to see what was happening but Paul Moffat had only thing on his mind and that was to get the ball over the line. The Rovers’ midfielder almost got a boot in the head as he bravely threw himself at the ball to score a crucial goal for his team.
With leaders Cork beating Bohs on Saturday, a draw would have been useless to the Hoops as they try to close the gap on the Munster side. The team showed great character in the second half and while they did have a couple of let offs their persistence paid off in the end.
Shamrock Rovers: 1 Lee Steacy. 2 Dean Power (Comerford 71 mins). 3 Jack Memery. 4 Donal Branagan. 5 James Mullaney. 6 Niall Forrester. 7 Lorcan Shannon. 8 Paul Moffat. 9 Dean Ebbe. 10 Sean Dixon (Byrne 81 mins). 11 Kelvin Jackson (Murphy 71 mins). Substitutes: 13 Garry Comerford. 14 Marc Keeley. 15 Jason Murphy. 16 Charles Kenna. 17 Ciaran Byrne. 18 Karl McGrath. 25 Patrick Reilly
Drogheda United: 1 Shane Finnegan. 2 Conor O’Keefe. 3 Reece McEnteer. 4 Stephen Watters. 5 Eoin Smyth (Ryan 89 mins). 6 Sean Challenger. 7 Conor Osborne. 8 Dylan Kearney. 9 Keith Boyle. 10 Stephen Hevey (Murphy 81 mins). 11 Jonathan Coleman (Simpson 71 mins). Substitutes: 12 Conor Murphy. 13 Tadhg Murphy. 14 Neil McEvoy. 15 Sam Simpson. 16 Shane Ryan. 50 Ryan White
Match report compiled by Robert Goggins