Eoin Kenny scored his first goal for Dundalk FC but Warren Davis responded with a brace as Drogheda United won the Malone Cup and earned all three points in PTSB Leinster Senior Cup Group A with a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Oriel Park on Friday night.
After Drogheda’s Frantz Pierrot had an early goal ruled out for offside, Dundalk should have taken the lead past the midway point of the first half when Archie Davies’ delivery was on the money for Daryl Horgan but he failed to cash in from close range.
Kenny, fresh from the bench at the break, made no such mistake ten minutes into the second half when he coolly converted. It could have been 2-0 past the hour but Robbie Benson struck the upright from a tight angle.
That kept Drogheda in it and, three minutes after that close call, they equalised when Davis – only on the pitch a matter of moments – capitalised on a mistake from goalkeeper Ross Munro.
The visitors were then awarded a penalty in injury-time and, while Munro did his best to redeem himself by stopping Davis’ spot-kick, it proved the match-winning moment as the young attacker buried the rebound.
For the first local derby of the year, Stephen O’Donnell handed a debut to Munro. New signing Jamie Gullan was on the bench but Ciaran McGuckin’s ITC had not been cleared in time. Andy Boyle captained the side.
Drogheda had the ball in the net in the 11th minute when Pierrot showed good strength in the box and finished clinically, but the flag had long been in the air.
Horgan saw a shot pushed wide at the near post by Andrew Wogan shortly after but that was also adjudged to be offside, before Benson flashed a header wide. Horgan, again dangerous down the left, then set up Cami Elliott but the Scot directed his effort off target.
Dundalk should have been in front on 24 minutes when Davies swung in a pinpoint cross for Horgan but the winger could only direct the ball wide when a goal seemed certain.
Before the break, Drogheda had another goal disallowed for offside, this time Ryan Brennan denied, as the sides went in level.
The temperature rose after the restart and Dundalk deservedly had the lead in the 55th minute. Kenny, who entered for Elliott, calmly finished to the bottom corner as the home side took full advantage of a second chance after Benson’s initial threat had been defended.
Dundalk could not have gone closer to a second on 63 minutes when Kenny turned provider for Benson but, from a very tight angle, the midfielder hit the post.
That proved a crucial moment in the tie as Drogheda made it 1-1 soon after when Davis, who had only just come on, was gifted a goal from a Munro mistake.
Drogheda were the more threatening after that but the derby looked destined for a draw until the 92nd minute when Paul Doyle was adjudged to have fouled Davis just inside the area. Munro saved the penalty but the ball fell kindly back into the path of Davis who had the simplest of tasks to seal the win for Drogheda.
DUNDALK FC: Ross Munro, Archie Davies (Luke Mulligan 75), Andy Boyle, Louie Annesley (Hayden Muller 65), Jamie Walker, Paul Doyle, Koen Oostenbrink, Robbie Mahon, Robbie Benson, Daryl Horgan, Cami Elliott (Eoin Kenny HT). Subs not used: Seán Molloy (GK), Jamie Gullan, Seán Keogh.
DROGHEDA UNITED: Andrew Wogan, Aaron McNally (Luke Heeney 71), Hayden Cann, Jack Keaney, Evan Weir, Conor Kane, Gary Deegan, Oisín Gallagher (Matthew O’Brien 82), Ryan Brennan (Warren Davis 65), Darragh Markey, Frantz Pierrot (Killian Cailloce 86). Subs not used: Ryan Maher (GK), Andrew Quinn, Emre Topcu.
REFEREE: Alan Patchell.