Goals from Declan O’Brien and the two Brennan brothers sealed a convincing 3-0 victory for Drogheda in the Airtricity League Premier Division at Hunky Dorys Park.

The Boynesiders bossed the first-half exchanges and Limerick keeper Barry Ryan was called upon to save from Declan O’Brien, Cathal Brady and Shane Grimes.

Drogheda finally hit the front on 39 minutes when O’Brien latched onto a mistake from Steve Folan and fired home from close range, and a goal-line clearance by Shane Costelloe denied O’Brien a second goal before half-time.

It was one-way traffic in the second period also and Gavin Brennan made it 2-0 with a low shot on the hour mark, before Ryan Brennan chipped a penalty down the middle on 76 following a hand-ball. 

Having qualified for the EA Sports Cup Final earlier in the week, Drogheda started confidently and Declan O’Brien had a shot turned round the post by keeper Barry Ryan in the sixth minute.

Then Cathal Brady latched onto a quickly taken free kick and his driven cross had to be pushed away by Ryan, and from the resulting short corner O’Brien’s near-post flick went just wide.

Despite enjoying some good possession Limerick had just a wayward header by Craig Curran to show for their early play, and after a lull in proceedings the Boynesiders regained the ascendancy, with Gavin Brennan heading just wide and a number of other half chances going begging.

On 38 minutes a snap shot by Shane Grimes struck the chest of Ryan before being grabbed at the second attempt by the keeper.

Limerick looked vulnerable and Drogheda finally made their dominance count a minute later, top scorer Declan O’Brien pouncing from close range after Steve Folan had failed to cut out a header by Michael Daly.

Two minutes later O’Brien nearly struck again as his fierce drive from an acute angle was superbly cleared off the line by Shane Costelloe.

Limerick boss Stuart Taylor could have landed himself in hot water after he vented his feelings towards referee Tomas Connolly at the half-time whistle.

When play resumed Drogheda continued to press and Alan McNally went close with a header from a David Cassidy free kick, before the Boynesiders grabbed the second goal their play deserved on the hour mark.

Michael Daly’s long ball out of defence caught the Limerick central defenders napping and Gavin Brennan ran through on goal unchallenged before drilling a low shot past Ryan.

The visitors brought on Axel Bossekota in a desperate bid to drag themselves back into contention, but it was Drogheda who grabbed a third goal, Ryan Brennan chipping a penalty kick down the middle after his shot had been handled in the box by Joe Gamble.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Micheal Schlingermann; Michael Daly, Alan McNally, Derek Prendergast, Shane Grimes (Philip Hand 85); Cathal Brady, David Cassidy, Paul O’Conor, Ryan Brennan, Gavin Brennan (Jason Marks 88); Declan O’Brien (Peter Hynes 81).

Subs not used: Gavin Holohan, Eric Foley, Alan Byrne, Gabriel Sava.

LIMERICK: Barry Ryan; Shane Costelloe, Robbie Williams, Steve Folan, Patrick Nzuzi; Jason Hughes (Axel Bossekota 67), Joe Gamble, Stephen Bradley (Daragh Rainsford 80), Danny Galbraith (Carel Tiofack 85); Craig Curran, Rory Gaffney.

Subs not used: Tony Whitehead, Val Feeney, Barry Sheedy, Shane Cusack.

Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin).