Drogheda United secured their first league win over Dundalk at home since 1998 in dramatic fashion. After 25 minutes Mick Cooke’s men were 2-0 down, but a brace from Peter Hynes and a 93rd minute winner from second half sub John Sullivan saw the 14 year wait ended.
The visitors started the quicker and stunned Drogheda when on five minutes a throw from down the left wing went over the head of Alan Byrne and was latched onto by Mark Griffin who cut inside Derek Prendergast and lifted the ball over Gabriel Sava from eight yards out.
The striker bagged his brace on 25 minutes as more poor defending allowed Griffin to start a move which he ended up finishing. Alan Byrne allowed the ball to run and Griffin gingerly ran onto it before playing in Gary Shanahan on the left wing. He then broke for the byline and pulled back, having beat Philip Hand and an initial shot was blocked but Griffin had drifted into the box to fire home from close range.
Drogheda then created their opening goal from nothing, a Ryan Brennan throw to Peter Hynes saw the striker control the ball and turn on the edge of the box before curling a shot to the far post which squirmed in-between the post and the diving hand of Cherrie.
An 87th minute equaliser by Hynes set the game up for a grandstand finish, Derek Prendergast whipped a delicious ball into the box which Hynes connected with giving Cherrie no chance. But after end-to-end action Philip Hand picked out the unmarked John Sullivan at the back post and the 72nd minute sub volleyed into the far corner to send the home fans into raptures.
Drogheda manager Mick Cooke spoke before the game about how all the hallmarks were there for a classic Louth derby and despite six yellow cards it was far from a dirty affair. There were plenty of full blooded tackles flying in from both sides and neither manager would have had any complaints had the game ended in a stalemate.
Dundalk dominated the opening and Drogheda just couldn’t handle the early pace set by the Lilywhites. Mark Griffin and Gary Shanahan were constantly linking up to great effect and Alan Byrne and Brian Gannon just couldn’t deal with the duo. Lorcan Shannon was also getting great purchase from taking on Stephen Quigley one-on-one and the winger managed to deliver some dangerous crosses.
Lilywhites caretaker manager Darius Kierans failed to make any changes to his side throughout the 90 minutes and the fitness levels really told, especially in the last 15 when they went with only one up top.
Tiarnan Mulvenna twice saw efforts cleared off the line as they pushed more into the game, Chris Sheilds on 49 minutes denied Mulvenna before Mark O’Brien denied the Drogheda midfielder late on.
Peter Cherrie was forced into a great save in the second half from a Philip Hand free which lead to the second goal line clearance from Mulvenna.
Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava; Brian Gannon, Alan Byrne, Derek Prendergast, Philip Hand; Tiarnan Mulvenna, Paul Crowley, Eric Foley (John Sullivan 72), Ryan Brennan (Cathal Brady 72); Peter Hynes, Declan O’Brien (Sean Brennan 80).
Subs Not Used: Michael Schlingermann, Stephen Quigley, Connor McMahon, Jason Marks.
Booked: Crowley (39), R Brennan (61), Byrne (84), Gannon (89).
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; John Mountney, Derek Foran, Chris Shields, Eoghan Osborne; Gary Shanahan, Mark O’Brien, Stephen Maher, Lorcan Shanahan; Mark Griffin, Michael Rafter.
Subs Not Used: Nathan Murphy, Peter Thomas, Liam Burns, Paul Whelan, Chris Reilly, Bob McKenna, Philip McCabe.
Booked: Mountney (11), M O'Brien (79), Shields (90+1).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Man of the Match: Peter Hynes (Drogheda United).