Drogheda United promoted to the Premier Division with dramatic play-off win over Wexford Youths

Fri, Nov 04 2016

Sean Thornton (right) converted the decisive penalty ten minutes from the end. Credit: Larry McQuillan (ETPhotos)

Drogheda United have been promoted back to the Premier Division at the first time of asking following a breath-taking 3-0 win over Wexford Youths in the second leg of their promotion/relegation play-off.


Goals from Sean Brennan, Kevin Farragher and a late penalty from captain Sean Thornton sealed an unlikely turnaround for Pete Mahon's side, who saw Farragher clear Paul Murphy's effort of the line in injury time.


The Boynesiders went into the home leg at United Park with an uphill task after goals from Danny Furlong and Lee Chin had put Shane Keegan's Youths in a commanding position ahead of the trip to Drogheda.


Youths were without Chin for the return leg as he was committed to appearing at the GAA All-Star Awards, where he failed to pick up an award, meaning captain Gary Delaney was restored to the starting line-up.


Both teams traded chances in the early stages and looked to be heading into the break scoreless before Drogheda native Brennan struck from 30 yards moments before the whistle.


Substitute Farragher – a summer recruit from Athlone Town – replaced Lloyd Buckley in the first half and seized his opportunity to draw level on aggregate just before the hour with a header from Marc Griffin's corner.


Ten minutes from time, Griffin was fouled in the box and it was left to another local boy, Thornton, to beat Graham Doyle from the spot to send the Boyneside into raptures.


Drogheda will join Bohemians, Bray Wanderers, Cork City, Derry City, Dundalk, Finn Harps, Galway United, Limerick, Shamrock Rovers, Sligo Rovers and St Patrick's Athletic in the 2017 Premier Division.


The First Division will consist of Athlone Town, Cabinteely, Cobh Ramblers, Longford Town, Shelbourne, UCD, Waterford United and Wexford Youths.