Gerard Grimes reports from United Park
it was a special night for First Division Drogheda United as they caused a cup upset knocking Shamrock Rovers out of the FAI Cup with Chris Lyons getting the only goal of the game. The long wait for a 25thFAI Cup win for Shamrock Rovers goes on.
The Hoops had the opening effort of the game after just three minutes as Lee Grace’s effort stung the hands of Paul Skinner from all of 30 yards.
Drogheda had their first chance just a minute later as William Hondermarck won the ball back on the halfway line.
The 17-year-old surged forward, to the edge of the box but could only drag his right footed effort wide of the near post, as he looked for the bottom corner.
The turning point in the game came mid-way through the half when pressure from the home side saw the Hoops go a man and a goal behind.
Neat build up from Drogheda on the right saw Chris Lyons play in Hondermarck, who was then adjudged to have been fouled by Lee Grace inside the box.
Grace was shown a straight red card by the referee by referee Paul McLaughlin. Lyons stepped up against his former club to send Alan Mannus the wrong way and give the Boynesiders the lead.
The visitors almost equalised just before the half hour mark as a low ball into the box was sent goalwards by Brandon Kavanagh but he was denied by a great save by Skinner, diving low to his right.
Rovers came out looking an improved side at the start of the second half, putting Drogheda under pressure in the first ten minutes of the half.
The visitors had two chances from corners, with the first being deflected out for a second corner before Roberto Lopes headed over the bar from that second corner.
Drogheda always looked threatening though, especially on the break against the ten men of Rovers and Conor Kane’s looped ball to Colm Deasy just before the hour could have doubled their lead, but the full-back fired over.
Half-time substitute Aaron Greene almost scored a stunning equaliser for Rovers two minutes later after a mazy run took him to the edge of the six-yard box but his effort was fired into the side netting.
Drogheda went close on 71 minutes as Kane picked up a second ball, cut into the box and looked to find the near post but was denied by Mannus.
They went even closer two minutes later as Kealan Dillon’s long range strike cannoned back off the post, fell to Lyons, and his rebound was blocked.
Stephen Bradley introduced 15-year-old striker Sinclair Armstrong off the bench for his senior debut but the young teenager couldn’t take the game to extra-time.
Drogheda had one final chance to seal the victory with five minutes of normal time to play as Kelly cleared it to man-of-the-match Lyons, he played in Rob Manley on the right.
He cut the ball across the box to the supporting Hondermarck but the teenager, sliding, couldn’t hit his effort goalwards.
Rovers would have two late chances to take the game to extra time, as Armstrong headed over from a Lopes cross before Drogheda cleared a corner deep in stoppage time with Mannus having come up from goal to cause United difficulty in the box.
It wasn’t to be and Tim Clancy’s men held on for a famous victory and progress to the next round of the FAI Cup.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Colm Deasy, Kevin Farragher, Luke Gallagher, Ciaran Kelly, Conor Kane; Richie Purdy (Kealan Dillon 66), Jake Hyland (C), William Hondermarck; Mark Doyle, Chris Lyons (Lee Duffy 93).
Subs not used: Luca Gratzer, Lloyd Buckley, Sean Trimble, Eoin McPhillips.
Booked: Colm Deasy (37).
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Sean Kavanagh; Sam Bone (Brandon Miele 67), Ronan Finn, Joel Coustrain (Sinclair Armstrong 79), Dylan Watts, Brandon Kavanagh (Aaron Greene h/t); Gary Shaw.
Subs not used: Kevin Horgan , Ally Gilchrist, Aaron Bolger, Dean Williams.
Booked: Roberto Lopes (87).
Red Card: Lee Grace (22).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Chris Lyons (Drogheda United).
DROGS HAVE WON!— Drogheda United F.C. (@DroghedaUnited) August 10, 2018