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Hat-trick hero McNally pushes Drogheda United a step closer to promotion

A place in the Premier Division for 2020 will be at stake when the Drogs face Finn Harps in a decisive play-off.

Luke McNally celebrates after scoring against Cabinteely.
Luke McNally celebrates after scoring against Cabinteely.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Drogheda United 5
Cabinteely 1

(Drogheda United win 6-2 on aggregate)

Dave Donnelly reports from United Park

LUKE McNALLY MADE it nine goals for the season with a sensational hat-trick to seal a 5-1 home win for Drogheda United in the second leg of tonight’s promotion play-off against Cabinteely.

The 6-2 aggregate victory sets up a play-off final with Finn Harps, the first leg of which will take place at United Park on Monday night, for Tim Clancy’s side.

Chris Lyons and Jamie Hollywood were also on target for the hosts, who controlled the game throughout despite Marty Waters levelling early in the second half.

Cabo looked some way short of the solid outfit that had led for the majority of last week’s first leg, with top scorer Rob Manley a big loss up front.

Drogheda were missing captain Jake Hyland, who scored the equaliser in Dublin, but lost none of their fluency in midfield and deservedly led going into the break.

McNally scored his first at the second attempt 10 minutes before half-time when, after his initial effort was blocked, he arrowed the loose ball into the roof of the net.

Cabo changed shape at the break, with the experiment of centre-half Conor Keeley up front abandoned, and were level inside seven minutes.

Luka Gratzer pulled off a wonderful save to turn Jack Tuite’s diving header onto the bar, but Waters was on hand to bundle home at the back post.

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Drogs were back in front within three minutes as McNally met Sean Brennan’s corner with a bullet header, and he arrived late in the box to sweep home a majestic third two minutes later.

Chris Lyons landed the pick of the night’s goals with a wonderful curling shot into the bottom corner before sub Jamie Hollywood put the icing on the cake late on.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Gratzer; Brown, McNally, Farragher, Kane; Hughes, Heeney, Brennan (Hollywood 64), Doyle (Meaney 68), Wixted, Lyons (O’Shea 81).

CABINTEELY: McGuinness; Tuite, Hudson, Carlin; Blackbyrne, Knight (Dalton 60), Massey (Barnes 59), Aspil, Fox (Sasaki 68); Waters, Keely.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

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