Date: 7:45 p.m. May 15, 2009
Venue: United Park
The game opened in traditional local derby fashion as the ball was pinged from end to end with no time for a player to bring the ball down and pass it around. It took 16 minutes for the first chance to arrive, James Chambers crossed a ball from the left which Brian King trapped beneath him as he slid in. Try as he might he couldn’t release the ball from below him before Chris Bennion smothered the danger.
Drogheda continued to look the more composed and cohesive side but neither side were threatening to open the other team up. Dundalk were beginning to feel as if the referee wasn’t giving them a fair rub of the green as a couple of half hearted penalty appeals were turned down and a string of free kicks went the Drogs way.
The Lillywhites had reason to take back all the ill feeling on 34 minutes as a cross was allowed to bounce in the Drogheda box around eight yards out. Rowe backed into Paul Shiels as they jockeyed for the dropping ball, Shiels then seemed to manhandle Rowe to the ground and ref McKeon pointed to the spot as well as booking Shiels. Turner despatched the penalty with ease sending Steve Williams the wrong way in the process.
Two bookings within ten minutes for Turner changed the game. The second for deliberate handball gave him first use of the changing room bath water. Kenna slid the ball home from the free kick after McNally set him up and the ref only allowed Dundalk to kick off before blowing up for half time.
Dundalk left Mansaram as a lone striker for the second half and looked to him to hold up play while his colleagues got up to support him. The Lillywhites nearly retook the lead after only 2 minutes of the second half as Ian Ryan tried to nod a right wing cross back to Williams, the ball looped up with the Drogs netminder finger tipping the ball away from a corner.
The game became scrappy as Dundalk were happy to play on the break and Drogheda seemed incapable of utilising their extra man to stretch the opposition. Dundalk had another penalty shout turned down on 73 minutes as Mulvenna was muscled off of the ball by Kenna on the edge of the box. Two minutes later Ryan was robbed of the ball by Mansaram who meandered forward and unleashed a deflected shot that lobbed up just wide of Williams left hand post.
Try as they might the teams could not fashion any further chances and all in all a draw was a fair result.
Drogheda United – Steven Williams; Ian Ryan (David O’Connor ’78), Conor Kenna, Alan McNally, Robert Clarke; Gavin Whelan, Paul Shiels, James Chambers, Brian King (Shane Barrett ’62); Jamie Duffy, Robert Martin. Booked – Shiels, McNally.
Dundalk – Chris Bennion; Shaun Kelly, Thomas Heary, Simon Kelly, Michael Synott; Michael Coburn, Chris Turner, Michael Daly, Tiernan Mulvenna; Darren Mansaram, Ger Rowe. Booked – Mulvenna, Turner, Mansaram. Sent Off – Turner.
Extratime.ie man of the match – Thomas Heary, displayed why he is skipper with an aggressive but sound performance at centre half.