Drogheda United recorded a comfortable 6-1 win at home to Munster Senior League side, Mayfield United to book their place in the last sixteen of the FAI Cup. Substitute Johnny Breen scored an eight minute hat-trick as Mayfield were reduced to ten-men late on.
Three of the four Drogheda strikers were on the scoresheet and in someways the high score flattered the home side as Mayfield put up a spirited challenge, but losing Stephen Hurley late on really hurt the visitors.
The home side opened the scoring after ten minutes, a cross into the box was acrobatically struck by Peter Hynes and it seemed like Dean Winters, the Mayfield shotstopper, had saved it, but the linesman's flag went up to signal a goal as the keeper was standing behind the line.
Minutes later, Winters failed to cover himself in glory as Declan O'Brien hit a sweet but speculative shot from 25 yards out and the keeper managed only to parry the ball onto the post and it rebounded into the net.
Mayfield never let their heads drop, but really failed to test Gabriel Sava in the Drogheda goal. Some good midfield work was let down by poor control in the final third. Drogheda effectively killed off the tie just before half-time when Gavin Brennan, in what would be his last act, slotted home from close range as Declan O'Brien unselfishly played him in.
The best chance for the visitors came on 57 minutes when Brian Gannon was carded after bringing down an attacking Mayfield midfielder. Some fancy footwork saw three Drogheda United players beaten before Gannon ended the attack unfairly and gave Mayfield a free on the edge of the Drogheda box. Mike O'Shea stepped up and hit a low shot through the wall but Sava had watched it all the way and got down to gather.
Stephen Hurley's dismissal on 71 minutes was the catalyst for a 20 minute spell in which four goals were scored. The midfielder was on the pitch for five minutes before he allegedly stamped on Eric Foley and, after being informed, referee Neil Doyle had no choice but to brandish a red card. Had the game ended on 3-1 it would have been more representative of it as a contest, however Breen's late hat-trick put a massive slant on the game and didn't do the Munster side the justice they deserved.
Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava; Brian Gannon, Alan McNally, Derek Prendergast, Philip Hand; Cathal Brady (Dean Marshall 53), Eric Foley, Paul Crowley, Gavin Brennan (Sean Brennan 46); Peter Hynes (Johnny Breen 63), Declan O’Brien.
Subs Not Used: Shane Finnegan, Mark O’Brien, Ryan Brennan, Tiarnan Mulvenna.
Booked: D O'Brien (37), G Brennan (44), Gannon (57).
Mayfield United: Dean Winters; David Kiely, Anthony Wolfe, Ian Fleming, Damian Roddis; Eric Fleming (Wayne McBride 60), Mike O’Shea, Dean Grainger, Dave Warren (Johnny Buckley 77), Greg Kelly; Shane Finn (Stephen Hurley 66).
Subs Not Used: James O’Mahony, Graham Cummins, Brendan Cronin, Conan Byrnes.
Booked: Roddis (82).
Sent Off: Hurley (71).
Referee: Neil Doyle.