Drogheda United see off nine-man Shelbourne after penalties
Louth side now face Finn Harps in final of First Division playoff
Drogheda United’s Seán Brennan celebrates scoring a goal during the SSE Airtricity League First Division promotion/relegation playoff series second leg at Tolka Park. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho
Shelbourne 1 Drogheda United 2 (aet) (2-2 on agg, Drogheda won 4-2 on penalties)
Paul Skinner saved two penalties in the shootout as Drogheda United edged through to meet Finn Harps in the First Division playoff final.
But Tim Clancy’s Boynesiders made hard work in overturning a 1-0 first leg deficit in this first round playoff second leg at Tolka Park as they laboured past a Shelbourne side who played for over 80 minutes with nine men.
Skinner saved penalties from Adam Evans and then Lorcan Fitzgerald as Chris Lyons, Seán Brennan, Luke Gallagher and Mark Doyle scored from the spot to see Drogheda through.
Shelbourne’s night appeared destined to go against them from the 11th minute when they were reduced to 10 men.
Already booked, central defender Reece McEnteer was shown a second yellow card and sent off for a repeat offence on Lyons.
Drogheda levelled the tie on aggregate on 33 minutes before Shelbourne had a second player sent off.
Lyons found space on the right to pick out Brennan who controlled the cross to shoot to the top corner his fourth goal against the Drumcondra side this season.
Four minutes later, James English, Shelbourne’s scorer in the first leg, recklessly lunged in two-footed on Drogheda captain Jake Hyland.
Referee Tomás Connolly showed the striker a straight red card as Hyland was taken off on a stretcher.
Defending doggedly into the second half, Shelbourne held out until the 62nd minute when Drogheda took the lead for the first time in the tie.
Brennan fed the lively Lyons who set off on a solo run before slamming the ball home off his left foot.
Remarkably, though, Shelbourne refused to lie down and levelled the tie on 76 minutes to force extra-time when substitute Evans turned home a Karl Moore cross.
SHELBOURNE: Delany; Wilson, McEnteer, Prendergast (O’Sullian, 120+1 mins), Fitzgerald; English, Hughes, Byrne, Moore; Kavanagh (Farrell, 101 mins), Moorhouse (Evans, 69 mins).
DROGHEDA UNITED: Skinner; Farragher, Gallagher, Kelly; Deasy (McCaffrey, h/t), Purdy (Amour, 103 mins), Hyland (Hondermarck, 39 mins), Brennan, Kane; Doyle, Lyons.
Referee: Tomás Connolly (Dublin).