Cawley goal not enough to deny Drogheda United a place in Setanta Cup final
Louth side stay on track for third cup victory
Sligo Rovers 1 Drogheda United 0 (agg 1-2): Drogheda United had to pull out all the stops before booking their place in the Setanta Sports Cup final at the Showgrounds.
Leading 2-0 from the first leg, the Louth side had to withstand a spirited fightback by Sligo Rovers but Mick Cooke’s side were delighted to keep their dreams of a third Setanta Cup well on track.
Drogheda made a couple of changes from the team that beat UCD on Friday night as Declan O’Brien got the call to start and Alan Byrne replaced Alan McNally.
The visitors came close to putting the tie out of Sligo’s reach four minutes after half-time when Paul O’Connor’s rasping shot came back off the underside of the crossbar with Gary Rogers beaten.
Brian Gannon posed an early threat to the home side up front as Drogheda defended solidly preventing the home side from establishing any forward momentum.
Joseph Ndo, making his long -awaited appearance for the home side following a lengthy absence, looked lively in the opening minutes of the first half.
Gary Rogers had to come off his line quickly in the 13th minute as Gary O’Neill raced on to a long ball.
Drogheda skipper and tough tackler Derek Prendergast saved his side’s blushes just after 20 minutes with a superb last-ditch interception to deny Paschal Millien who had raced clear up the right wing in a defence-splitting move.
Sligo went ahead on the half hour mark when David Cawley sent a blistering close-range shot past Gabriele Sava in the visitors’ goal.
Gary O’Neill and Paul O’Connor with a long-range effort tested the Rovers’ defence but there was no end product for the visitors.
Drogheda had a chance a minute before half-time when they were awarded a free kick about 20 yards out from goal after Ryan Brennan was taken down but David Cassidy’s kick was cleared.
Drogheda played reasonably well during the opening 45 minutes but Sligo, following two defeats on the trot, were always eager to pose a threat as they sought to overturn the visitors’ two-goal advantage from the first leg.