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Frustration for Damien Duff as former players come back to haunt Shelbourne

Drogheda ended the Tolka Park outfit’s three-match winning streak.

Shelbourne manager Damien Duff looks frustrated during the game.
Shelbourne manager Damien Duff looks frustrated during the game.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Drogheda 3

Shelbourne 1

Barry Landy reports from Head In The Game Park

DAMIEN DUFF’S Shelbourne saw his team’s three-match winning streak come to an end as Drogheda United produced an impressive comeback to earn victory at Head In The Game Park.

Not much went right on the night for Duff, who lost striker Sean Boyd to injury early on, but the former Irish international was proved correct on one crucial aspect he predicted pre-match.

Ahead of the game, the Reds’ manager suggested some of Drogheda United’s ex-Shels contingent may be seeking to prove something to him after being let go at the end of their promotion campaign last year.

Three such players started for United — Georgie Poynton, Ryan Brennan and Dayle Rooney. Brennan hit two goals and Rooney the other — a stunning volley — to hand Drogheda the points. Jack Moylan had put Shels in front inside the opening 10 minutes.

Judging by Brennan’s verbal exchange with Duff as the game wore on, he was clearly enjoying himself. He had been vocal about his upset at how his Shels career ended at the time. The look on the visiting coach’s face on the sideline betrayed his own frustration with the evening.

United, however, began nervously and their rivals took advantage. Moylan stole the ball in midfield and raced through before finding the net for his sixth league goal of an eye-catching season.

It looked for all the world like Shels’ recent hoodoo over United — they had won four on the spin against them — would continue. But that was as good as it got.

The hosts dominated thereafter and no one could legitimately argue with the game’s outcome.

Kevin Doherty’s side were level when Rooney’s left-wing cross found Brennan free in the area. He sidefooted home to leave the game all square at half-time.

The next goal from Rooney had to be seen to be truly appreciated. His first shot was blocked by Kameron Ledwidge but the loose ball, falling as it did from the setting sky, was volleyed in with a strike of near-perfect execution — the home crowd will remember it for a long time to come.

Brennan’s second was no less impressive though. Rooney was again the provider. His deep cross found the local hero at the back post. He volleyed into the ground and Brendan Clarke was beaten by the bounce.

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The game was stopped for a short period near the end after an incident of alleged spitting by a person or persons situated in the away section before Drogheda saw out the victory.

Drogheda United: Colin McCabe; Georgie Poynton, Andrew Quinn, Keith Cowan (Dane Massey, 87), Evan Weir; Gary Deegan; Dylan Grimes (Darragh Nugent, 73), Darragh Markey, Ryan Brennan, Dayle Rooney; Dean Williams.

Shelbourne: Brendan Clarke; Shane Griffin, Luke Byrne, Kameron Ledwidge; Shane Farrell, Gavin Molloy, JJ Lunney (Brian McManus, 59), Conor Kane (Josh Giurgi, 69); Jack Moylan (Dan Carr, 69); Sean Boyd (John Ross Wilson, 17), Matty Smith.

Referee: John McLoughlin

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