Ryan Brennan the hero as Drogheda see off Derry in Setanta Cup
Substitute scores in injury-time to clinch semi-final spot
Drogheda United's Ryan Brennan celebrates scoring the winning goal with David Cassidy. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Date: 11 March, 2013
Venue: Hunky Dory Park
Drogheda United made it through to the semi-finals of the Setanta Cup with a dramatic late victory over a Derry side who played almost the entire second half with 10 men after Ryan McBride was red-carded.
Substitute Ryan Brennan was the hero for the Boynesiders as he pounced late in stoppage time at the end to hit the winner and set up a semi-final clash with Sligo Rovers.
On a biting cold evening it was probably no surprise it took a quarter of an hour before anything of note happened but when it did it almost yielded a goal for the home side.
Gavin Brennan’s excellent work on the edge of the box set up David Cassidy, whose shot appeared destined for the bottom corner until Kevin Deery somehow showed up to clear the ball from the line, with Gary O’Neill in close attendance.
Immediately at the other end Derry went close when Pat McEleney let fly from 25 yards but Gabriel Sava, called into action for the first time, pushed the ball out for a corner.
With half an hour gone United again threatened as Cassidy stole in at the back post to shoot towards goal; however, that man Deery was on hand again to prevent a goal and clear the danger.
As the half drew to a conclusion Sava was smartly off his line to deny Pat McEleney with a solid challenge after which the Derry man had to leave the field injured.
Drogheda then won a penalty two minutes before the break after Ryan McBride upended Gary O’Neill, who picked himself up and took the resulting kick, which he hit meekly and straight at goalkeeper Gerard Doherty.
The second half was three minutes old and Derry found themselves down to 10 men when McBride was show a straight red card for another bad challenge on O’Neill, who was stretchered off with a nasty looking injury.
Gavin Brennan’s spectacular effort from 35 yards saw Doherty tip the ball over, while at the other end, Michael Rafter fired over from a good position.
Derry then hit the front on 64 minutes thanks to a Brian Gannon error that allowed Rafter stroke the ball home from close range.
Doherty denied Gavin Brennan an immediate equaliser with a fine stop but the visitors’ lead was cancelled out within minutes as Brennan set up Derek Prendergast, who drove the ball to the net from the right.
As everyone prepared for extra-time Drogheda won it in the fourth additional minute when Philip Hand’s cross was headed towards the target by Declan O’Brien. Doherty could only push the ball on to the bar and as it fell to Brennan, he rattled the net.