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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 18 May 2021

Classy Drogheda too good for struggling Students

An early goal from Gavin Brennan and three second half strikes including a Gary O’Neill brace gave the hosts an easy win.

Gary O'Neill scored twice tonight for Drogheda.
Gary O'Neill scored twice tonight for Drogheda.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Drogheda 4-0 UCD

ASSERTIVE. IMPERIOUS. DOMINEERING. These are just some of the words Drogheda United’s new boss Damien Richardson will be plucking from his extensive sporting lexicon when asked to describe his new side’s performance as he took the reins at United Park.

As comfortable a 4-0 win as one can be, this victory, albeit over a struggling UCD side, will further reinforce hopes that Drogheda can look up the table as the season reaches its climax, rather than over their shoulder at the scrap developing underneath

An early goal from Gavin Brennan and three second-half strikes including a Gary O’Neill brace and one for Cathal Brady wrapped up the points for Rico’s men, their first league win at United Park since they beat Bohemians way back in mid-May.

In nine matches as Cork City manager, Richardson never lost to the Students and that record never looked under threat by the current UCD crop. After Drogheda threatened early on, just six minutes had passed before they hit the front.

Cathal Brady got the better of left-back Sean Coyne, but rather than shoot, he squared it across the area for Gavin Brennan, who shot under Niall Corbet and into the net.

Gavan Holohan, a recent match-winner against Bray and against Shamrock Rovers last week in Tallaght, could have extended the hosts’ advantage soon after. First, his free-kick forced Corbet into a fine save and then the Kilkenny-born midfielder saw his shot blocked by some last-gasp UCD defending.

Richardson and assistant Darius Kierans might have marked Students captain Robbie Benson out for special attention ahead of this one. The 22-year-old had scored in three of his last four matches against Drogheda, but chances to extend that sequence were few and far between.

In the second half, Samir Belhout had UCD’s best chance of the match when he managed to round Micheal Schlingermann, but he put his shot back across the face of the goal and wide of the post. Then, the goals started to flow for Drogheda.

After a six-goal drubbing away to Derry last weekend, Aaron Callaghan won’t have been pleased to see a careless defensive lapse let Drogheda in for their second. Ian Ryan’s backpass was short, Gary O’Neill beat Niall Corbet to the ball and after steadying himself, the striker smashed in his first goal since the away defeat to UCD in May.

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The impressive Brady added a third on the hour mark and then he crossed for O’Neill to head home the fourth from a couple of yards.

There’ll be many positives to take from this for Drogheda’s new coach, not least the fact that the Louth men have now kept consecutive clean sheets for the first time this season.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Micheal Schlingermann, Daire Doyle, Mick Daly, Alan McNally, Shane Grimes, Cathal Brady (Garreth Brady, 83), Gavan Holohan, Gavin Brennan, Ciaran McGuigan, Carl Walshe (Peter McGlynn, 70), Gary O’Neill (Declan O’Brien, 75).

Substitutes: Dylan Connolly, Sean O’Connor, Ciaran O’Connor, Roy Kierans.

UCD: Niall Corbet, Gareth Matthews, Sean Coyne, Ian Ryan, James Kavanagh, Robbie Creevy (Gary Burke, 72), Robert Benson, Timmy Molloy (Gregory Sloggett, 69), Samir Belhout (Chris Mulhall, 80), Conor Cannon, Ayman Ben-Mohamed.

Substitutes: Daniel Tobin, Adam Harvey, Kaleem Simon, Thomas O’Halloran.

REFEREE: Derek Tomney

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