Date: 7:45 p.m. June 2, 2009
Venue: United Park
Both sides showed changes from their last outing as Paul Skinner, Brian King & Paul Crowley came in for the Drogs and Pat Sullivan & Stephen O’Donnell came in for City.
Drogheda opened the scoring in the eighth minute with their first concerted attack. James Chambers deserted his right back duties to deliver a fast low perfectly flighted left sided corner to the near post where the inrushing Conor Kenna leapt beautifully to send the ball to the back of the Crosslanes end net to the left of Dan Connor.
The goal gave Drogheda the confidence that they have so often been missing this season and they showed far more aggression than Cork around the middle of the park, being first to the ball and generally picking up the second balls in there too. The only Cork players who could find time on the ball were the centre halves but with their midfield outlets being closed down quickly they all too often resorted to long balls to Denis Behan.
On 20 minutes another lovely delivery from Chambers from the right flank cried out for a striker to take a gamble as it dropped perfectly between Connor and his defence, but the dearth of striking talent available to the home side meant that it slid out for a goal kick.
Ref Hanney moved centre stage on 34 minutes as Paul Crowley intercepted the ball in midfield and ran straight at the Cork goal, in a desperate attempt to prevent him making the box Greg O’Halloran took him down from behind and must have been glad to see Hanney only produce the yellow card. Chambers curled the free kick in from the inside left position about 22 yards out and was narrowly wide.
The Drogs finished the half on top and had a half decent shout for a penalty turned down as Robbie Martin appeared to have been clipped by Danny Murphy.
Paul Doolin had a few well chosen words at half time and sent his boys back out a full two minutes before the Drogheda team re-emerged. They were very nearly two down within five minutes as Chambers swung in free kick for Kenna to head back across the six yard box, it evaded the Cork defence and fell to Crowley. His left foot half volley was saved at point blank range by Connor and cleared away.
Cork threw on Guntars Silagailis for Stephen O’Donnell on 51 minutes and began to take a grip on the game. Behan had a shout for a penalty turned down on 54 minutes as he got on to the end a Connor goal kick. They came close to equalising on 60 minutes as Behan nodded a left wing cross back to Murray just outside of the box, his right foot half volleyed effort found the bar and rebounded to safety.
The promised leveller arrived on 62 minutes as Colin Healy floated in a free kick to the head of Silagailis, Skinner saved the header but was unable to prevent Murray slotting home the rebound from close range.
The expected Cork domination didn’t materialise as both sides traded punches without registering a telling blow. However on 80 minutes the knockout blow Drogheda needed arrived courtesy of a long ball down the Drogheda outside right channel, O’Halloran made a meal of clearing the ball and Martin was through on goal, his shot was saved but the rebound was confidently slotted to the bottom left hand corner by O’Connor from 20 yards.
Cork threw Murray up front as a makeshift centre forward and tried to bombard the home goal, alas to no avail as Drogheda held out and claimed the three points.
Drogheda United – P Skinner; J Chambers, A McNally, C Kenna, R Clarke; J Duffy, P Crowley, P Sheils, B King, R Martin (D O’Connor 59); S Barrett.
Cork City – D Connor; P Sullivan, G O’Halloran, D Murray; D Murphy; F Kuduzovic, S O’Donnell (G Siliagailis 61), C Healy, C Lordan, B Dennehy (A O’Connor 79); D Behan.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match – James Chambers, faultless at right back and great set piece deliveries.