Drogheda United progressed to the League Cup final for the second season running with a comfortable victory over a lacklustre Derry City team at the Brandywell on Monday evening.
Veteran striker Declan 'Fabio' O'Brien was the hero as he scored twice and set up the other for Mick Cookes' men and they will now face either Shamrock Rovers or Sligo Rovers in the final.
Drogheda started the game much quicker than the home side and it wasn't long before they took the lead. Derry and especially Gerard Doherty can blame no-one but themselves for going behind in the 12th minute.
The ball was crossed into the box by Daly and was flicked on. Doherty fumbled the ball and it dropped to O'Brien whose shot on the turn hit the bar. Doherty once again fumbled the ball and it dropped to O'Brien again who couldn't believe his luck as he slotted the ball into the back of the net.
O'Brien again turned Greacen in the 16th minute and sent a lovely chip over Doherty but it landed on the roof of the net. The evergreen O'Brien then directed a header from a corner just wide as Drogheda ramped up the pressure.
In the 29th minute the away side should have doubled their advantage when a cross found Cathal Brady unmarked in front of goal but somehow the ball got trapped under his feet and trickled wide. It was only at this stage that Derry started to get back into the game with Duffy and Houston prominent in their improvement.
In the 38th minute a fine passage of play saw the Candystripes get the equaliser. Paddy Kavanagh drove out wide and laid the ball back to the returning Thomas Crawley and his inch perfect cross found David McDaid at the back post and he volleyed the ball into the net. Michael Duffy almost added a second just before half time when he cut back and flashed a drive just wide of Schlingermann's post.
Derry started strongly again in the second period and in the 48th minute a quick break found McDaid out wide and he delivered a very inviting cross for the unmarked Rory Patterson who headed wide when he really should have done better.
The introduction of the Brennan brothers in the 59th minute seemed to invigorate the Louth side and they duly took the lead in the 66th minute. O'Brien slipped the ball between the flat footed Shane McEleney and Sean Houston and found David Cassidy who went to ground to early allowing Cassidy to round him and finish with aplomb.
Derry introduced Patrick McEleney and Mark Griffin but it was all Drogheda at this stage and they extended their lead in the 77th minute once again through O'Brien. A through ball saw a straight race between O'Brien and Greacen but the Derry defender tripped and O'Brien bore down on goal before bending a beautiful strike around Doherty and in off the post.
Derry attempted to get back into the tie but the wind had well and truly been taken out of their sails by that stage and Drogheda held on easily enough to reach the final.
Mick Cooke will be delighted with his men after a tough season but Declan Devine will have a lot of thinking to do as his side's poor run of form continues.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Stewart Greacen, Shane McEleney, Thomas Crawley (Barry McNamee 65); Paddy Kavanagh (Patrick McEleney 72), Barry Molloy (c), Sean Houston, Michael Duffy; Rory Patterson (Mark Griffin 72), David McDaid.
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Raymond Foy, Ryan Curran.
Booked: Simon Madden.
Drogheda United: Michael Schlingermann; Michael Daly, Derek Prendergast, Alan McNally, Shane Grimes; Alan Byrne; Cathal Brady, David Cassidy (Peter Hynes 85), Paul O'Conor (Ryan Brennan 59), Jason Marks (Gavin Brennan 59); Declan O'Brien.
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Philip Hand.
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Attendance: 900 (estimate)
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Declan O'Brien (Drogheda United).