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Limerick 0-1 Drogheda United

Updated: Friday, 28 Mar 2014 22:07 | Comments

Declan O'Brien grabbed the vital goal for Drogheda on the half-hour mark
Declan O'Brien grabbed the vital goal for Drogheda on the half-hour mark

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Drogheda United enjoyed a productive trip to Thomond Park earning a fine 1-0 win over Limerick FC in their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash.

Robbie Horgan's Drogheda outfit bagged a 30th minute goal courtesy of Declan 'Fabio' O'Brien, who reacted sharply in a crowded area to steer Robbie Horgan's side ahead.

Limerick crafted several chances either side of half-time, but James McGrath, Patrick Nzuzi, and Shane Duggan failed to rattle the Drogs' net.

Late on Drogheda dealt with Limerick's rally as Alan McNally supplied the defensive leadership as the visitors held out after a short stoppage due to floodlight failure.

Drogheda had plenty of early possession as Daire Doyle and Eric Foley battled impressively in the centre of the park.

Still Limerick went close in the 14th minute when a splendid piece of skill from Rory Gaffney manufactured space as Shaun Kelly was twice denied by Drogheda custodian David Ryan in quick succession.

Stuart Taylor's Blues had an encouraging spell themselves with Jason Hughes lively, but Drogheda were solid defensively.

The visitors then took the lead on the half-hour mark as Limerick conceded a soft and utterly preventable goal.

Gavan Holohan's right wing cross caused panic in the Limerick defence and Gavin Brennan's header was swept home by O'Brien.

Suddenly Drogheda's football was confident again as O'Brien and Gary O'Neill were significant threats in attack.

O'Brien released O'Neill in the 37th minute, but Barry Ryan made a splendid reflex save to keep the Blues in the game.

At the opposite end Ryan's brother, David, made an equally excellent save seconds later to ensure Drogheda went in protecting an interval lead.

Shane Tracy's inviting cross was met by a firm James McGrath header, but Ryan's fingertip save denied Limerick.

Limerick were searching for a leveller and Patrick Nzuzi fizzed a 25-yard effort inches wide as Drogheda were content to go in at the break armed with a slender advantage.

Nine minutes after the restart Barry Ryan made another save to deny Alan McNally, who connected with a crisp Eric Foley free-kick.

Limerick skipper Shane Duggan controlled a Hughes delivery on 69, but his shot went just the wrong side of the post as the match remained highly competitive.

There was some drama as floodlight failure delayed the finish, but Drogheda stayed cool and composed when the action resumed.

Limerick FC: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Samuel Oji, Stephen Folan, Patrick Nzuzi (Robbie Williams, 80); Shane Tracy, Shane Duggan, Jason Hughes; Darragh Rainsford (Craig Curran, 50), Rory Gaffney, James McGrath (Tam McManus, 74).

Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Prince Agyemang, Tony Whitehead, Garbhan Coughlan.

Drogheda United: David Ryan; Gavan Holohan, Alan McNally, Ciaran McGuigan, Shane Grimes; Cathal Brady, Eric Foley (Stephen Maher, 76), Daire Doyle, Gavin Brennan; Gary O’Neill (Carl Walshe, 88); Declan O’Brien (Austin McCann, 90).

Subs not used: Dylan Connolly, Paul Crowley, Paul Andrews.

Referee: G Kelly (Cork).

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