Drogheda United 1-0 Shamrock Rovers: Drogs pull off sensational FAI Cup shock


Drogheda United pulled off a sensational shock on the opening night of this FAI Cup weekend by flooring Shamrock Rovers at United Park.

Chris Lyons slotted home from the penalty spot midway through the first-half after Lee Grace saw red for a pull on William Hondermarck as he prepared to shoot.

And while 10-man Rovers initially looked capable of scheming their way back into the tie, Stephen Bradley’s charges soon ran out of ideas.

Dogged Drogs had no intention of relinquishing their foothold in a tight and absorbing game and duly finished as they started.

They hit the post late on and forced Alan Mannus to make a number of saves as they beliled their First Division status against the top flight’s form team.

Rovers – fielding a strong XI – arrived here on the back of five wins and a draw in their last six competitive domestic games, with a clean sheet kept in all of them.

But Drogs were determined to leave their mark and Tim Clancy’s side were great value for their lead once it came.

Hondermarck and Lyons linked well throughout and were the lead characters as the drama around that penalty played out.

They exchanged a slick one-two on the edge of the box and when Hondermarck was winding up to shoot, Grace pulled him back.



Shamrock Rovers’ Ronan Finn dejected as Drogheda celebrate scoring the opening goal

Aghast, the centre-back protested his red card from ref Paul McLaughlin bu the decision looked spot on as Hondermarck was clean through.

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Lyons did the needful and sent Mannus the wrong way.

Forced to juggle their defence, Rovers switched Joey O’Brien inside to partner Roberto Lopes while Sam Bone dropped back to right-back.

And despite the numerical disadvantage, the Hoops saw plenty of ball with Dylan Watts growing into the game while the gallant Joel Coustrain left nothing behind.

Paul Skinner had to save smartly to deny Brandon Kavanagh with a right-footed effort from a deep Bone cross.

But needing a jolt, Kavanagh made way for Aaron Greene at the break and Rovers felt they should have had a penalty when Craig Hyland flattened Bone.

Greene then jinked through traffic in the box and might have won one of his own but stayed on his feet despite being clipped only to find the side netting.

But with Rovers now struggling to make inroads and the clock winding down, Drogheda sensed they might be onto something special and upped the intensity again.

Conor Kane forced Mannus to save at his near post from point blank range before Kealon Dillon smashed the post while Lyons’ follow-up was saved.

Sinclair Armstrong is the latest hot property on the Rovers’ production line and the 15-year-old powerhouse was throw in for the last 10-minutes.

But Drogheda kept piling forward with Hondermarck and Dillon teasing Mannus again at the death before United Park erupted to the sweet sound of the final whistle.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Skinner; Farragher, Gallagher, Kelly; Deasy, Hyland, Hondermarck, Purdy (Dillon 66), Kane; Doyle (Manley 72), Lyons (Duffy 90).

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; O’Brien, Lopes, Grace, S Kavanagh; Bone (Miele 68), Watts; Coustrain (Armstrong 80), Finn, B Kavanagh (Greene 45); Shaw

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Referee: P McLoughlin (Monaghan)

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