Gerard Grimes reports from United Park
A second senior goal in four appearances for Ryan O’Shea saw Drogheda United advance to the second round of the FAI Cup with a 2-1 win over Avondale United.
It took almost ten minutes for the first chance of the game as Luke McNally’s header was blocked but the defender won the second ball and crossed for Mark Doyle.
Doyle played the ball back to Jake Hyland who took a touch and hit a shot narrowly wide from 20 yards.
The Boynesiders hit the front four minutes later though as Stephen Meaney picked the ball up on the right, beat his man and continued his run into the box.
Meaney got his head up and played the ball into the six yard box where Mark Doyle, who had made a run to the near post, was there to flick the ball past Daniel O’Leary.
Drogheda were on top and Meaney again broke into the box, this time going for goal himself but O’Leary was equal to it, making a good save.
Tim Clancy’s side threatened again four minutes later as Meaney got up keep the ball in play, knocking it down into the path of Kavanagh. He found Doyle but his low strike was straight at O’Leary.
Doyle, who at times moved central and into a deeper position, was next to create a chance as he picked the ball up, made a move out left and delivered a great ball into the box.
Jordan Adeyemo rose highest in the box but couldn’t keep his header down as the ball landed on the roof of the net.
Avondale had the last chance of the half as they were awarded a free around 30 yards out from goal. David O’Leary stepped up to take it but his effort didn’t trouble Gratzer, as it rose high and out of the ground on the Crosslanes side.
The Munster Senior League side did however, find an equaliser ten minutes after the break. John Donovan saw his shot blocked by a Drogheda defender, the ball looped up, catching Luca Gratzer in two minds.
Gratzer got a touch on the ball, but didn’t catch it, and the ball rolled into the bottom corner to bring Avondale level.
O’Leary was again called into action for Avondale ten minutes later as Kane’s cross found Doyle in the box, he turned the ball goalwards but the keeper again made the save, this time with his left leg.
A mix up at the back from Avondale on 69 minutes created Drogheda’s next chance as the ball fell to Stephen Meaney, who looked to quickly shoot with an open goal in front of him.
Meaney mishit the shot but is bounced back off the keeper, who failed to gather the effort, falling into the path of Mark Doyle who dragged a shot wide of the far post.
The home side found the winner on 73 minutes as two substitutes combined with Mark Doyle. Sean Brennan played a ball into the box, it was flicked on by Doyle into the path of Ryan O’Shea.
O’Shea, courtesy of an unfortunate slip from David Kiely, had time to control the ball before placing it in the far corner to seal Drogheda’s place in the second round.
Drogheda United: Luca Gratzer; James Brown, Luke McNally, Kevin Farragher, Conor Kane; Cian Kavanagh (Sean Brennan 61’) Jake Hyland (C), Jamie Hollywood; Stephen Meaney, Jordan Adeyemo (Ryan O’Shea 56’), Mark Doyle.
Unused Subs: Paul Skinner (GK), Eoin McPhillips, Luke Heeney, James Clarke, Mick Cregan.
Booked: Ryan O’Shea (71’), Jamie Hollywood (82’).
Avondale United: Daniel O’Leary; David Kiely (C), Declan Cahill, Elijah Kadi-Harrington (Darragh O’Brien 80’); John Donovan, David O’Leary, Brian Murphy, Andrew Duant, Danny O’Connell (Stephen Barrett 22’); Richard Tobin, Killian Cooper.
Unused Subs: Damien Roddis, Aiden Webber-Hobbs, Vincent O’Brien, Sean Barron.
Referee: Alan Patchell
Attendance: 400 (est).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Stephen Meaney (Drogheda United).