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Jack Byrne injured and Danny Mandroiu sent off as Shamrock Rovers suffer surprise loss to Drogheda

Ryan Brennan hit his fourth goal of the season to stun the reigning champions.

Drogheda's Ryan Brennan celebrates scoring.
Drogheda's Ryan Brennan celebrates scoring.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Drogheda 1

Shamrock Rovers 0

Barry Landy reports from Head In The Game Park

RYAN BRENNAN hit his fourth goal of the season to stun reigning champions and league leaders Shamrock Rovers at Head In The Game Park and hand Drogheda a second win in three days.

The Hoops’ 13-game unbeaten streak came to an end by the Boyne and Stephen Bradley can hardly complain about the result.

Bar two excellent Sam Long saves in the first half, his side rarely threatened the United goal in any real sense.

Danny Mandroiu was sent off for two bookable offences late on while Jack Byrne hobbled off in the first half — as he did last Thursday against UCD.

Those incidents compounded a miserable night for Rovers. However, with Derry’s defeat out West, no dent has been made in their seven-point lead at the summit.

Brennan spent two seasons at Rovers but came back to haunt his old side with a fourth goal of the campaign. The return to his hometown club can already be categorised as a resounding success. He headed in Dayle Rooney’s cross eight minutes before half-time.

Rovers started very brightly as the hosts struggled to contain their early forward thrusts. Rory Gaffney shot wide and Barry Cotter’s header from a corner was off target. The first half was utterly one-sided but the away team found Sam Long in inspired form.

The on-loan Lincoln City stopper made two superb saves to keep Mandroiu, in red hot form himself, out. First, he leapt to his left to tip a top corner-bound free-kick around the post. Then, after good work from Andy Lyons and Dylan Watts, Long raced off his line and used his legs to keep the attacker out again.

Brennan then notched the game’s only goal after substitute Rooney raced past Cotter and delivered a pinpoint cross. Brennan’s timing was perfect and his finish likewise.

Drogheda had lost captain Dane Massey to injury early on, meaning their defence bore an altogether makeshift look to it. They stood firm however and Rovers could find no way through. With Byrne off the field, they struggled.

Possession was almost entirely theirs, but the points were not. Sean Hoare powered a header wide soon after half-time. But even half chances were rare after that. Mandroiu was shown a second yellow card on 81 minutes for a late challenge on Long.

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There was a brief stoppage after that when assistant referee Allen Lynch was allegedly struck with an object thrown from the stand housing the away support. The game resumed but even with nine minutes of additional time, United stood firm.

Drogheda United: Sam Long; Georgie Poynton, Keith Cowan, Dane Massey (Dayle Rooney, 9), Evan Weir; Luke Heeney, Gary Deegan, James Clarke, Ryan Brennan (Dean Williams, 86); Dylan Grimes; Chris Lyons (Adam Foley, 78).

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Lee Grace; Barry Cotter (Gary O’Neill, 61), Richie Towell (Aaron Greene, 61), Dylan Watts, Andy Lyons; Jack Byrne (Graham Burke, 41); Danny Mandroiu, Rory Gaffney (Aidomo Emakhu, 70).

Referee: Ray Matthews

About the author:

Barry Landy

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