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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 17 April 2021

Joy for Drogheda as they progress in promotion playoff

On-loan Shamrock Rovers forward Gareth McCaffrey scored his sixth goal in 10 matches

Pete Mahon's side earned a big win tonight.
Pete Mahon's side earned a big win tonight.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

Drogheda United 1-2 Cobh Ramblers (Drogheda advance 3-2 on aggregate)

ON-LOAN SHAMROCK Rovers forward Gareth McCaffrey scored his sixth goal in 10 matches to send Drogheda United through to next week’s promotion/relegation playoff — but they were made to work for it by Cobh Ramblers.

The Drogs came into the game with a 2-0 advantage from last Saturday’s encounter at St Colman’s Park but it took just nine minutes at United Park for that lead to be wiped out.

Pete Mahon stressed in the week that complacency wouldn’t be allowed to creep into the minds of his players but United were stunned by how Cobh came at them in the early minutes. In fact, it took just 38 seconds for the visitors to hit the front.

Charlie Fleming played a ball over the top which beat the entire Drogheda backline. Conor Ellis was onto it and he held off Kevin Farragher’s challenge before firing a low shot past Stephen McGuinness.

Gary Comerford had a goal disallowed, correctly, before Ramblers made it two. After the defence failed to clear a ball into the box, Shane O’Connor was given time and space to turn and finish from close range.

Cobh were value for their lead and the near 1,000 crowd at United Park weren’t happy with what they were seeing. The best chance for the home team in the opening 45 minutes came when Jake Hyland shot wide from 20 yards. The build-up involving Sean Thornton, Marc Griffin and McCaffrey was good, but it wasn’t much to shout about in a frustrating 45 minutes.

After the break, Ramblers looked more likely to score once more. McGuinness was busy and earned his man-of-the-match award. But the defining moment of the game came when McCaffrey scored on 60 minutes.

Adam Wixted left his marker on the floor with some flashy footwork and his cross reached McCaffrey on the far side of the box. He volleyed in, watched on by former Rovers boss Pat Fenlon in the stand.

His new boss Mahon will have been delighted his mid-season acquisition made the difference and even more so with McGuinness. He made a string of fine saves, including from Ellis to keep Drogheda’s noses in front on aggregate. Craig Donnellan hit the bar late on, but Cobh couldn’t find a third.

Drogheda consequently took a huge step towards returning to the Premier Division at the first time of asking.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Stephen McGuinness, Colm Deasy, Luke Gallagher, Kevin Farragher, Stephen Dunne, Jake Hyland, Richie Purdy, Sean Thornton, Adam Wixted (Derek Doyle, 89), Gareth McCaffrey, Mark Griffin (Aaron Ashe, 78).

Subs Not Used: Patrick Dunican, Lloyd Buckley, Mark Doyle, John McKeown, Sam O’Connor.

COBH RAMBLERS: Paul Hunt, Charlie Fleming, Chris McCarthy, Kevin Mulcahy, Ian Mylod (Eoin McGreevy, 89), Shane O’Connor, Craig Donnellan, Gary Comerford, Matthew Whelan, Conor Ellis (Kyle McNamara, 75), Rob Lehane (Anthony O’Donnell, 75)

Subs Not Used: Jonathan Creamer, Stephen Christopher, James McSweeney, Darren Murphy.

REFEREE: Marc Lynch (Galway)

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About the author:

Barry Landy

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