Striker Declan O’Brien produced a man of the match display to inspire Drogheda United to a deserved victory at Derry City and book their place in the EA SPORTS Cup Final with a 3-1 victory.
The cup holders in truth ran out comfortable victors with O’Brien their main man and causing problems throughout.
O'Brien opened the score early on only to see David McDaid level shortly after. However two second-half goals in the space of 10 minutes from O'Brien and David Cassidy helped Drogheda book their spot in the final.
After a frantic opening period, Drogheda took the lead on 13 minutes thanks to a dreadful goal-keeping error by Gerard Doherty.
The former TNS shot stopper initially dropped the ball inside the box and he although O’Brien hit the bar with the loose ball, the striker made no mistake a second time when incredibly Doherty was unable to get hold of the ball inside his six yard box.
Minutes later O’Brien should have doubled the visitor’s lead when David Cassidy’s left wing corner found the front man totally unmarked inside the six yard box, but he failed to hit the target and headed over.
The Candystripes equalised just after the half hour mark when Thomas Crawley’s left wing centre towards the back post was expertly turned home by in-form striker David McDaid, who netted his third goal in six games.
Just before the break some sublime skill by Michael Duffy ended with the Northern Ireland U19 international skipping in front the right and his curling effort form just inside the box, which had Schlingermann beaten, fizzed just wide.
Some neat skill and cross by McDaid on 48 minutes minutes ended with his centre picking out an unmarked Rory Patterson, but the usually deadly striker saw his header, which had Schlingermann beaten, hit the side netting.
United went back in front on 67 minutes after some terrible defending by City ended with substitute Ryan Brennan playing a side roll pass in between Shane McEleney and Houston to find David Cassidy and he coolly rounded Doherty before side footing home into the empty net.
More shambolic defending by the home side resulted in O’Brien scoring his second on 77 minutes.
A long ball over the top saw O’Brien get the better of Stewart Greacen, before laying the ball back to Gavin Brennan, his shot inside the box was blocked and the alert striker was hand to calmly curl the ball in off Doherty’s left hand post to complete his treble.
Derry City: Doherty, Madden, Greacen, S McEleney, Crawley (McNamee 66); Kavanagh (P McEleney 71), Molloy, Houston, Duffy, McDaid, Patterson (Griffin 71).
Drogheda United: Schlingermann, Prendergast, McNally, O’Connor (R Brennan 58), Brady, Grimes, Cassidy (Hynes 85), O’Brien, Daly, Marks (G Brennan 58), Byrne.