Date: 7:45 p.m. Aug. 11, 2009
Venue: Terryland Park
James Chambers was at the heart of both goals as his shots were diverted in by Kenna and Duffy from close range. Both goals came from set pieces as Chambers first struck a free-kick goalwards that was cleverly flicked past Ryan by the former UCD man, while a poorly defended corner on the stroke of half time gave the right full another chance to shoot and Duffy was in the right place to side foot to the net from six yards.
While the lead flattered Drogheda a little, the home side's efforts were weak and the absence of John Russell from the centre of the park was more keenly felt than some predicted. Jason Molly and Vinny Faherty grafted honestly up front but there was little spark to United's efforts. An early Galway corner ended with Drogheda smacking the bar as Ross Gaynor galloped forward, fed Brendan McGill with a well-weighted pass and the former Bohs man left Barry Ryan rooted to the spot with a shot which floated over him but remained in play via the woodwork.
Molloy curled an effort wide on 13 minutes, but Drogheda were more menacing going forward and almost broke the deadlock when a Chambers free-kick fell to Kenna (notice a pattern forming) but the defender's volley was well held by Ryan. Three minutes later the same combination struck again to greater effect.
Chambers lined up a free kick to the left of centre roughly 30 yards from goal. All 90 or so Drogheda fans who made the trip - all credit to them - could see a shot was imminent, as could everyone else present. Yet, when the Drogheda attackers pushed forward into the area as Chambers strode forward to shoot, did the United defence hold their line? Did they ever. Retreat was the order of the day and as the body of players dropped back, Chambers shot whipped in, appeared to be heading just wide, but Kenna showed deftness and dexterity to swivel and head past Ryan who had no chance.
United took their time in offering a response, but it was a decent chance and should have brought the sides level. Iarfhlaith Davoren crossed from the left on 33 minutes and Molloy controlled well before laying off for Alan Murphy, who has scored many a goal from more difficult chances in his time, but this opportunity would not move him a goal closer Paul McGee's United scoring record as the ball rose high and over the bar.
Sean Kelly then headed well wide from Mark O'Toole's free kick before the visitors ensured a bigger smile on their manager's face at half-time with a crucial second goal. A half-hearted clearance off the goal-line by Molloy fell to Chambers, who notched up his fourth assist of the season when his shot was helped in by Duffy.
A lack of threat on the flanks had been evident in Galway's first half play, and Derek O'Brien and Shane Fitzgerald were introduced for the second half. While the home side did improve their intensity and defensive efforts, the final product was sorely lacking and as the saying goes, "they were lucky to get nil."
Faherty did have an opportunity to test the returning Steve Williams on 47 but couldn't steady himself sufficiently to shoot and a weak effort was smothered by the Welshman. Guy Bates rifled in a shot on target and Brendan McGill should have completely killed off the game on the hour mark but shot weakly when well-placed.
O'Brien tried his luck from distance but was well off target as Paul Shiels dominance of midfield ensured that Drogheda were never under much pressure. The home side did strike the bar in the closing stages, but it came from a cross from right back Seamus Conneely. On this display, Drogheda United will only move in one direction till the end of the season - upwards - while Galway United will do well to avoid the play-offs. A satisfying trip home awaits the Drogs faithful.
Galway United: Barry Ryan; Seamus Conneely, Shane Guthrie, Garry Breen, Mark O'Toole (Derek O'Brien, 46); David Cooke (Shane Fitzgerald, 46), Sean Kelly, Alan Murphy, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Jason Molloy (Aaron Green, 70), Vinny Faherty.
Subs not used: Ger Hanley, Cian McBrien.
Drogheda United: Steve Williams; James Chambers, Conor Kenna, Alan McNally, Robbie Clarke; Brendan McGill, Jamie Duffy (Robbie Farrell, 90), Paul Shiels, Eric McGill; Ross Gaynor (Brian King, 80), Guy Bates (Robbie Martin, 70).
Subs not used: Paul Skinner, Ian Ryan.
Referee: Padraig Sutton.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Paul Shiels - Centre Midfield - Owned.