Three goals in the final quarter seen Drogheda United through to the fourth round of the FAI Ford Cup as First Division side Mervue United completely fell apart.
The home side got a dream start after just seven minutes when Daragh Hanaphy fired home a loose ball in the box after TJ Forde had saved well from a close range Dinny Corcoran header.
Mervue though slowly got back into the game and Steven Trimble did well to beat away a powerful snap shot from John Mountney on 12 minutes. Corcoran then raced away at the other end before lifting the ball over Forde but also cleared the crossbar by inches
Just past the half hour mark the visitors had two great chances to equalise when first Tom King produced a good save from Trimble after latching onto a long Forde ball with the keeper pushing his effort out for a corner. King's resultant corner then dropped to James Casserely five yards out and he somehow lashed his effort from close range off the home crossbar before the ball was cleared.
Jason Molloy then saw another effort cleared off the line by the covering Colin O’Brien on the post following a corner kick as the home side finished the half still ahead. Mervue will wonder how they did not get back level with the amount of second half chances they created before a storming final quarter finish from the home side.
Mervue should have been level on 56 minutes when Tom King contrived to miss an absolute sitter from a Dave Goldbey cross, as he was left unmarked in front of goals but mishit his effort pass the Trimble but onto the post.
Another Gaffney long throw on 62 minutes from right was flicked on by Goldbey but King couldn't get a touch on it in front of goals again as Mervue piled forward in search of an equaliser. Gaffney hit the side netting and Cunningham shot over as wave after wave of visitor attacks went one way.
But then totally against the run of play the home side awoke and scored three times in eight minutes. Martin Conneely misplaced a header back to Forde and Corcoran nipped in and lifted the ball over the advancing keeper. Drogheda sub David Freeman then struck twice in a minute as first he headed past Forde on 83 minutes and a minute later double his tally with a shot from outside the box as Mervue fell apart at the back.
Mervue learned a hard lesson tonight as you must take your chances against Premier Division opposition or pay the price and that they did.
Drogheda United: Steven Trimble; Colin O’Brien (Keith Murray 88), Philip Hand, Victor Ekanem, Stephen Quigley; Stephen McCrossan (Robbie Gaul 88), Brian Gannon, Mark O’Brien, Darragh McNamara (David Freeman 60); Darragh Hanaphy, Daniel Corcoran.
Subs not used: David Quirke (GK), Cillian Thompson.
Booked: McCrossan (35).
Mervue Utd: TJ Forde; Kevin Crehan, James Casserely (Mark Ludden 82), Martin Conneely, Dan Cunningham; Tom King (Alex Lee 77), Noel Varley, Rory Gaffney, John Mountney; David Goldbey (Peter Dravins 82), Jason Molloy.
Subs not used: Ger Hanley (GK), Mike Tierney, David O’Brien, Michael Collins.
Referee: Derek Tomney (Kerry).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: David Freeman (Drogheda Utd) – Punished Mervue with two well taken goals.