Shelbourne manager Damien Duff. Tom Maher/INPHO
Off the Mark

Duff secures first win as Shelbourne boss with victory at Drogheda

Dan Hawkins and Mark Coyle provided the goals in a 2-0 win at Head in the Game Park.

Drogheda United 0

Shelbourne 2

Barry Landy reports from Head in the Game Park.

TWO SECOND-HALF goals secured the points on a memorable night for Damien Duff as Shelbourne beat Drogheda United at Head in the Game Park to earn their manager the first victory of his managerial career.  

Following last week’s defeat to St Pat’s, Duff will be glad to get this particular monkey off his back so soon. If last week was the biggest night of his life, this surely surpassed it at least in terms of satisfaction.  

Dan Hawkins and Mark Coyle, both signings from Finn Harps, scored the goals at either end of the second half. A win by a two-goal margin was no less than what Shels deserved. They were certainly the better team over the piece.  

Both sides were attempting to start their season in earnest. Drogheda’s opening day fixture at Finn Harps fell foul of the weather while Shels’ anticipated Premier Division return fell flat with defeat against St Pat’s. 

New United boss Kevin Doherty took charge of a match as manager for the first time in almost six years, when he left Tolka Park after an 18-month stint in charge. That Shels were the opponents at Head in the Game Park as Doherty stepped up following Tim Clancy’s close season departure merely added to the storyline on the night. 

Drogheda handed competitive debuts to Evan Weir, Andrew Quinn, Dylan Grimes and Darragh Nugent. 

Prior to the game, the new Drogheda boss wasn’t being drawn on what the expectations were for his reimagined side this term. They have lost five of their first choice back six from the 2021 campaign while top scorer Mark Doyle followed Clancy to Inchicore.

They, like the visitors, may be content with survival come the season’s end. But, in February, hope prevails.

The opening stages were bereft of genuine quality in attack. Jack Moylan embarked on a run to the edge of the home area, muscling Andrew Quinn and Dane Massey out of the way en route but he scuffed his shot harmlessly wide.  

Chris Lyons’s shot was blocked after good work from Dylan Grimes as Drogheda responded.  

The first action seen by either goalkeeper arrived when Colin McCabe sprang to his left to parry Luke Byrne’s curling effort.  

The opener arrived shortly after the break when the ever-impressive Moylan supplied a cross for Hawkins to fire past the Drogheda shot-stopper. The Welsh forward capitalised after a cheap giveaway left the hosts exposed facing back against their own goal. 

Not content with sitting on the first goal of his reign, Duff replaced the ineffectual Dan Carr with Sean Boyd. The striker is fresh from a rejuvenative spell at Finn Harps last term. 

He couldn’t score but Coyle could. He broke away and showed his pace before finishing past McCabe right at the death.  

Drogheda offered virtually nothing going the other way. It is something Doherty will need to rectify in the coming weeks.   

Drogheda United: Colin McCabe; Andrew Quinn, Mark Hughes, Dane Massey; Darragh Nugent (Georgie Poynton, 59), James Clarke, Gary Deegan, Evan Weir; (Dayle Rooney, 59) Darragh Markey, Dylan Grimes (Adam Foley, 59); Chris Lyons (Dean Wiliams, 71).  

Shelbourne: Lewis Webb; Aaron O’Driscoll, Luke Byrne, Kameron Ledwidge; John Ross Wilson, Mark Coyle, Aodh Dervin, Conor Kane; Jack Moylan (Brian McManus, 88); Daniel Hawkins (Jordan McEneff, 68), Daniel Carr (Boyd, 56).   

Referee: Oliver Moran  

Gavan Casey is joined by Bernard Jackman and Murray Kinsella to look ahead to Italy, chat about the provinces’ latest signings, and remember ‘Inga the Winga’.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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