A first half spell in which Drogheda United scored four times in nine minutes defined this game as Tim Clancy’s men powered to a 5-1 victory over Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park on Saturday night.
Richie Purdy, Mark Doyle (x2), Ciaran Kelly and Chris Lyons netted for the away side before Cian Leonard struck a late consolation for the Rams.
Cobh had started well and were unlucky not to be ahead when Richie Purdy blasted home Drogheda’s opener on 28 minutes.
It was a stunning strike but the visitors might have conceded just 30 seconds earlier when Denzil Fernandes, taking on Pierce Phillips’ slide-rule pass, saw his low shot deflected away from goal by the outstretched foot of Paul Skinner.
Up until then Ramblers had impressed with Anthony McAlavey and Darren Murphy picking out rapid, well placed passes from the Rams’ engine room.
Adam O’Sullivan looped a header into Skinner’s arms after 12 minutes and Ian Mylod sent a rasping shot narrowly over eight minutes later. But after Drogheda went ahead the floodgates opened on Stephen Henderson’s side.
Two minutes after Purdy struck, Doyle took advantage of a defensive mistake, nicked the ball just yards from goal and drove home from a tight angle to double the Drogs' lead.
Three minutes later, Doyle had his second. A corner from the left was headed back across goal and Doyle thundered his volley in off the underside of the bar.
And Drogheda kept on coming. Having kept them out for another four minutes Cobh buckled again. Purdy’s initial shot was blocked but centre-back Kelly was on hand to smash in their fourth via the left hand post.
Lord only knows what Henderson said to his young Ramblers side at half time but they began the second half with some purpose, before Drogheda broke their resolve with a fatal fifth.
Sean Brennan drove in a low cross from the right and Lyons applied the killer touch from point blank range.
Cobh did get one back and salvaged some pride when substitute Leonard stroked home a neat consolation after 73 minutes.
They continued to compete, despite the scoreline, something which will have pleased their manager. But overall Drogheda simply had too much power for their hosts to handle.
The win means Drogheda rise to second in the First Division table, two points behind UCD who also won on Saturday night.
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt; Adam O’Sullivan (Jaze Kabia 56), Ben O’Riordan, James McSweeney, Kevin Taylor; Denzil Fernandes (David Hurley 74), Darren Murphy, Pierce Philips, Athony McAlavey, Ian Mylod; Andrew Wall (Cian Leonard 66).
Subs not used: Michael Sadys (gk), Adam Mylod (gk), Stephen Christopher, Peter Callanan.
Booked: Adam O’Sullivan (2).
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Colm Deacy, Kevin Farragher, Ciaran Kelly, Conor Kane; Lee Duffy (Stephen Meaney 70), Jake Hyland, Sean Brennan (Eoin McPhillips 62), Richie Purdy, Mark Doyle; Chris Lyons (Gareth McCaffrey 62).
Subs not used: Luca Gratzer (gk), Victor Ekanem, Lloyd Buckley, Kealan Dillon.
Booked: Lee Duffy (66).
Referee: Robert Hennessey.
Attendance: 175 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Ciaran Kelly (Drogheda United).