League Preview: Derry City -v- Drogheda United

Ruaidhri Higgins

Ruaidhri Higgins Credit: John-Paul McGinley (ETPhotos)


Derry City and Drogheda United commence their Premier Division campaigns as they meet at the Brandywell Stadium tonight in their 2024 season-opener (kick-off 7:45pm).

Another year, another title assault.  At least, that is what Derry City fans will be hoping transpires over the next ten months.

The hosts have finished second in successive seasons, six and seven points behind champions Shamrock Rovers respectively, manager Ruaidhri Higgins will want to make a winning start.

Despite only signing two new players, it’ll be a relatively settled Derry side that starts this evening, a squad that concluded the final three pre-season fixtures with an aggregate 8-0 win. 

Both new boys, signed from Dundalk, winger, Daniel Kelly and prolific striker, Pat Hoban, are set to debut with the latter almost guaranteed to start.


Drogheda, who finished seventh in the table last season, have recruited heavily over the off-season, drafting in eleven new faces. 

Like Derry, the Boynesiders also added a new centre forward with the acquisition of Frantz Pierrot from First Division side, Athlone Town.   The American netted an impressive 22 goals in Athlone colours last year and how he fares, a division up, will be key to Drogheda’s form.

Former Derry midfielder Oisin Gallagher, on loan from Lincoln City, is another potential Drogheda debutant alongside fellow Imps’ loanee, Hayden Cann. 

Familiar League of Ireland figures in the shape of David Webster, Jack Keaney and Conor Kane are also set to be involved on Friday nigh. 

Referee: Damien MacGraith


In all four fixtures in 2023, one team failed to score with the teams’ most recent meeting a 0-0 draw at Weavers Park in October.

Drogheda inflicted Derry’s first league defeat last season at this venue, by a 1-0 scoreline when both sides had a man sent off – Derry’s Cameron McJannet and Drogheda’s Emmanuel Adegboyega both seeing red.

Michael Duffy scored the last goal of this fixture in a 3-0 home win for Derry City in mid-August.

PREDICTION: Derry City 3-1 Drogheda United.

BETTING: Derry City 2/5;  Draw; 18/5.  Drogheda United; 11/2.


Derry City

Injured: Sadou Diallo; Colm Whelan

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.

Drogheda United

Injured: None

Doubtful: Jethren Barr (fitness)

Suspended: Luke Heeney