Date: 7 p.m. Oct. 17, 2009
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
Att: 4,900 (est)
For Michael O’Neill and co, this is a banana skin avoided and they now have placed the ball firmly back in Bohemians' court after their comprehensive win on Friday night.
A Dessie Baker strike after six minutes and Graham Barrett's first goal for the Hoops consigned Drogheda to their second straight defeat in Dublin.
Drogheda were always up against it from the off and things were made worse for the visitors when a rash lunge by Conor Kenna saw the defender receive his marching orders for what the ref deemed a cynical foul.
Alan Mathews made two changes from the side which were beaten last week in Dalymount, Paul Skinner getting the gloves ahead of Steve Williams while in midfield Eric McGill replaced Brian King as the Drogheda manager looked to avert a repeat of last week.
Rovers were forced into several changes with Graham Barrett coming in for Padraig Amond from last week.
The home side signalled their intentions direct from the kick off as they took a shot from the half way line that went wide, but from then on in they had Drogheda on the back foot for the majority of the game.
Minutes before he netted Baker almost opened the scoring as Skinner was called into action early on, racing off his line to clear the first of many attempted through balls to the nippy striker.
The opener duly arrived in the sixth minute, as Barrett put a deft pass through to Baker who shot low and hard past the advancing Skinner to give the home fans the start they were looking for.
Rovers quickly pressed for a second, which they almost got as Stephen Bradley sent in a high looping ball to the back post where Robbie Clarke managed to clear the ball behind as Barrett was lurking.
On 15 minutes the Hoops’ tactic was causing the Drogheda defence no end of trouble as a high ball to Baker was well controlled despite the presence of McNally and Kenna and the Rovers player managed to lay the ball off to Shane Robinson who was racing through and would almost certainly have been one-on-one with Skinner. However, it looked as though McNally tripped Robinson, but the ref waved play on, much to the anger of the Rovers' fans.
Drogheda were then reduced to ten men on 23 minutes when once again Barrett was set through and Kenna lunged from behind and brought the player down. After being shown the obligatory red card by Dave McKeon, he jogged off without argument.
Drogheda keeper Skinner may have been watching "Manchester Utd – The Barthez Years", as some of his clearances emulated the Frenchman's numerous gaffes. Twice in succession he skewed the ball to Rovers players, doing his defence no favours.
One of his skewed clearances proved costly as it formed the foundation for the Rovers attack which led to the second goal right before half time. From midfield the home side played the ball into the box where Baker nodded down to Barrett who toe-poked the ball high and into the corner leaving Skinner with no chance.
The 'keeper did produce several good saves before that, however, as on 27 minutes he denied Sean O’Connor, who stole in from the left, with his legs while on 32 Barrett was made wait for his opener by a good save from the shot stopper.
Drogheda looked the more aggressive side in the second half and Paul Crowley attempted to halve the deficit in the opening minutes, his long range effort clearing the cross bar.
Rovers were unable to kill off the game entirely, which may play on the minds of their fans, but Drogheda never really looked able to get back into the game.
If anyone was going to score it would be the home side, as Sean O’Connor had two efforts in the space of two minutes. The first, a deft lob from 30 yards out which a backtracking Skinner had to tip over and then from the subsequent corner he fired a long range effort which just curled away from goal.
Barrett wasted a glorious chance with five minutes remaining, another deft pass through the heart of the Drogheda rearguard opened up the goal to the striker and rather than power a shot home he attempted a cheeky chip which Skinner seemed to have covered but it also cleared the crossbar.
Rovers now must prepare for a home tie against Cork City on Tuesday night while Drogheda will welcome the visit of Galway United to Louth on Tuesday.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Pat Sullivan, Aidan Price, Craig Sives, Ollie Cahill; Shane Robinson, Stephen Rice (Ian Bermingham, 60 mins), Stephen Bradley, Sean O'Connor (Ross Chisholm, 72 mins); Dessie Baker (Padraig Amond, 69 mins), Graham Barrett.
Unused subs: Barry Murphy, Don Cowen.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Scott Gibb, Robbie Clarke, Conor Kenna, Alan McNally; Paul Crowley, Brendan McGill (Robbie Martin, 67 mins), Eric McGill (Ian Ryan, 80 mins), Jamie Duffy; James Chambers, Ross Gaynor. Unused subs: Steve Williams, Brian King.
Extratime Man of the match: Dessie Baker – a goal and an assist for the Rovers' favourite. Baker never let the Drogheda defence settle and was constantly toeing the defensive line poised to take advantage of any passes.
Referee: Dave McKeon.