High-flying Drogheda ran out comfortable winners over a disappointing Shelbourne side to stay third in the league table but level on points with second-placed Shamrock Rovers. The home team made the most of their chances finding the back of the net three times, while the visitors failed to really test keeper Gabriel Sava with too many shots on target, scoring only a late consolation goal from the penalty spot.
The game kicked off under a heavy downpour and Shels showed promise on five minutes, with slick sweeping move across the pitch from Glen Cronin left to Kevin Dawson, who switched it wide to Paddy Kavanagh on the right, to whip in a cross for David Cassidy on the back post, whose header was just inches wide and high.
Drogheda came more into the game and Gavin Brennan had a chance after twelve minutes, then with centre-half Alan McNally heading the ball against the bar a minute later, with keeper Paul Skinner beaten. Apart from an under-hit strike from Philly Hughes, it was the home team who threatened most then, with several good chances.
Just before half-time the Drogs deservedly broke the deadlock when a cross from deep on the left from Eric Foley, sailed over keeper Paul Skinner’s head to find Brian Gannon who crashed the ball in from a tight angle.
Once again the visitors started brightly with Paddy Kavanagh flashing a shot wide across the post. However, once again it was the home side with the more clinical finishing who found net, when Ryan Brennan finished off a Brian Gannon pass, to double their lead on fifty one minutes. Shels did make a sustained effort to get back into the game just after the hour mark, forcing two successive corners and then bringing out the best in keeper Sava with a fine finger-tip save to deny Hughes.
Drogheda killed off the game on seventy two minutes when Gavin Brennan made an incisive run down the left and cut inside with his shot getting turned into goal by substitute Peter Hynes. A penalty from Hughes after Stephen Quigley had handled, gave the visitors a flicker of hope with ten minutes left on the clock, but Stephen Paisley’s sending off for a professional foul minutes later, ended another unsatisfactory trip up the M1 into Louth, in the space of a fortnight for the Reds.
Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava; Stephen Quigley, Derek Prendergast, Alan McNally, Shane Grimes; Brian Gannon (Mark O'Brien 87), Eric Foley, Gavin Brennan, Ryan Brennan; Declan O'Brien (Peter Hynes 69), Tiarnan Mulvenna (Sean Brennan 77).
Subs Not Used: Stephen Trimble, Dean Marshall, Philip Hand, Johnny Breen.
Bookings: D O'Brien (51), G Brennan (66), Gannon (71), S Quigley (80).
Shelbourne: Paul Skinner; Brian Shortall, Ian Ryan, Stephen Paisley, Sean Byrne; Brendan McGill (Anto Murphy 57), Glenn Cronin, Kevin Dawson, David Cassidy (Conan Byrne 75), Paddy Kavanagh (Philip Gorman 57); Philip Hughes.
Subs Not Used: Dean Delany, Gareth Matthews, Barry Clancy, Andrew Boyle.
Bookings: Cronin (57), A Murphy (68).
Sent Off: Paisley (86).
Referee: Tom Connolly.
Extratime.e man of the match: Brian Gannon (Drogheda United) - scored the opening goal and laid on the second.