Gerard Grimes reports from United Park
A hat-trick from former Drogheda United player Rob Manley set Cabinteely well on their way to a 4-1 victory over the Boynesiders at United Park on Friday night.
Mark Hughes scored a consolation for the home side late on but Luke Gallagher sliced the ball into his own net in the final minute to compound Tim Clancy’s side’s misery.
It took nine minutes for the first chance of the game to appear in what was a first half of few chances and it came through Manley.
The forward found space and time on the ball 25 yards out, turned and looked to find the bottom corner of Paul Skinner’s goal but his effort went narrowly wide.
Drogheda replied as their two standout players on the night combined. Luke Heeney picked up a second ball and played a superb crossfield ball to Mark Doyle who controlled and cut inside his man.
He looked to beat McGuinness at his near post but the Cabinteely captain was equal to it, getting a strong hand to the effort to knock it out for a corner, which came to nothing for the home side.
Cabinteely were slightly the better team at this stage and had a great chance to hit the front on after 21 minutes.
Keith Dalton, on the right wing, crossed towards the box post to Manley, who nodded the ball back into the six-yard box.
Jack Tuite was on hand to fire goalwards but Drogheda had a number of players back and managed to block the effort and scramble the ball clear.
The second half was immediately more eventful than the first half.
First Sean Brennan, on the left for the Boynesiders, flicked the ball over his man before hitting an effort on the volley.
The shot was spilled by McGuinness in the Cabinteely goal with appeals from Drogheda players and supporters that the ball had in fact crossed the line.
The appeals were waved away and a free kick was awarded to Cabinteely for a foul on McGuinness by one of two Drogheda players who had looked to get on the end of the rebound.
Cabinteely hit the front on 53 minutes from the penalty spot. Striker Manley was fouled in the box by Skinner and stepped up himself to send the Drogheda keeper the wrong way.
Midway through the half, the visitors doubled their lead after brilliant work from Marty Waters saw him clip a ball to the back post where Manley rose highest to nod home for his second of the game.
Manley’s hat-trick was complete six minutes later. Cabinteely were awarded a second penalty after Luke Heeney was adjudged to have fouled a player in the box by the linesman.
Rob Manley again stepped up and fired the spot kick into the bottom corner past his former teammate Skinner to give Cabinteely a three-goal lead.
Drogheda looked for a way back into the game and almost got a goal back two minutes later as Stephen Meaney looked to find the far corner, but saw his effort hit the post.
The home side did get a goal back with 11 minutes of normal time to play. Mark Hughes found himself in acres of space around 30 yards out and hit a low drive goalwards.
It took a slight deflection and nestled in the far corner of Stephen McGuinness’ goal to reduce the gap to two.
Cabinteely sealed the victory with a minute of normal time to play. Again, Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters was brilliant on the right wing, beating his man and playing a dangerous ball across the Drogheda box.
Luke Gallagher was the unfortunate defender for Drogheda as he looked to clear his lines but instead found the roof of his own net to restore Cabinteely’s deserved three-goal advantage.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; James Brown, Luke Gallagher, Luke McNally, Conor Kane; Mark Hughes, Luke Heeney, Sean Brennan (c); Thomas Byrne (James Clarke 34), Chris Lyons (Stephen Meaney 57), Mark Doyle.
Unused Subs: Luca Gratzer (gk), Cian Kavanagh, Sean Trimble, Eoin McPhillips, Janabi Amour.
Booked: Stephen Meaney (58), James Clarke (65).
Cabinteely: Stephen McGuinness (c); Jack Watson, Jack Tuite, Jonny Carlin, Sean Hurley (Shane Barnes 86); Keith Dalton, Vilius Labutis (Zak O’Neill 93), Alex Aspil, Jack Hudson; Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters, Rob Manley (Oisin McMenamin 91).
Unused Subs: Peter Quinlan (gk), Sean Fitzpatrick, Adam Maher, Eoin Massey.
Booked: Sean Hurley (83).
Referee: Adriano Reale.
Attendance: 350 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters (Cabinteely).