League Preview: Drogheda United -v- Waterford

Kevin Doherty

Kevin Doherty Credit: Gerry Shanahan (ETPhotos)


Drogheda United will be looking to claim their first win of the Premier Division season when they host newly promoted Waterford on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).

Drogheda went to Derry City for their opening fixture of the 2024 season and manager Kevin Doherty fielded five newcomers in his side following a busy close season in the transfer market.

They comprised a new-look centre-back partnership of Jack Keaney alongside Hayden Cann, while former Derry man Oisín Gallagher also debuted with Zashim Bawa and former Athlone Town player Frantz Pierrot.

The Drogs did well to hold Derry City scoreless up to the break but then conceded two goals to the home side in the second half to give themselves an uphill battle for the rest of the game.

They had a glorious opportunity to get one back through a Ryan Brenman penalty but his shot was expertly saved by Derry keeper Brian Maher.

They did get a goal back from a superb Evan Weir free kick in the 67th minute but were unable to breach the home defence a second time and came away empty handed from the Brandywell.

Defender Hayden Cann is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd for the first time in the league this season and he spoke to the Drogheda United. media team this week and said: “All the lads from Lincoln that have been here previously have always said how good the fans are. I can’t wait to play in front of them and the atmosphere they create.

“We hope to put on a performance that they will be proud of and showcase what we are. My family are coming over to watch me play for the first time and are looking forward to it as much as I am.”

In team news, Luke Heeney is available after serving a one game suspension while goalkeeper Jethren Barr returned to the matchday squad against Derry last week following injury. Midfielder Oisin Gallagher is doubtful, after picking up an injury in the league opener.


Waterford made a welcome return to the Premier Division last Friday night and they can be well pleased with their opening nights work as they held last season’s fourth placed team Shelbourne to a well-deserved 1-1 draw at the RSC in Waterford

The Blues showed no rustiness after a two-year absence from the top tier of football and, if anything, they might consider themselves a shade unlucky not to get all three points on the night.

They dominated Shelbourne for large stretches of the game, particularly in the first half, and some of their new signings like Maleace Asamoah, Kacper Radkowski and Padraig Amond endeared themselves to the home supporters after very solid performances over the 90 minutes.

It was Fleetwood Town on-loan winger Asamoah who gave Waterford a very early lead, showing tremendous acceleration to outpace the Shels defence in the 2nd minute before slotting the ball past Conor Kearns to make it 1-0.

They never succeeded in adding a second however and were eventually reeled in by Shelbourne through a 77th minute Sean Boyd equaliser.

Speaking ahead of the game in Drogheda, Waterford FC Head Coach Keith Long is looking to build on last week’s positive performance against Shelbourne.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge up in Drogheda on Friday, but I feel we’ve prepared well and the lads have trained well. We travel in good spirits, and we hope to back up last week’s positive display with a strong team performance against Drogheda,” he said, speaking to the club’s website.

“Drogheda away is always a difficult challenge. They are a well organised team with an exciting blend of young, talented players coupled with players that have extensive League of Ireland experience.

“So, it will be a tough game for us but also a great opportunity to try and improve on last week’s display.”

In team news, Christie Pattison, Cameron Cresswell & Rowan McDonald all returned to training this week and are available for selection against Drogheda.

Referee: Paul Norton


These two teams have not met since the four games in the 2021 season, and the honours were evenly split that season with both teams winning two of the four games.

The last game in Sept 2021 finished 1-0 to Waterford, with Phoenix Patterson getting the only goal of the match.

Patterson is one of a host of departures from Waterford’s match day squad that day, and only three players, Darragh Power, Niall O’ Keeffe and Matt Connor still remain contracted at the RSC for the 2024 season.

There has been a very similar level of player turnover at Weavers Park in Drogheda, with only Gary Deegan, Darragh Markey, Conor Kane and Luke Heeney still at the Co Louth club.


Drogheda United 21/20; Draw 11/5; Waterford 23/10.


Drogheda United 2-1 Waterford 

Drogheda United

Injured:  None

Doubtful: Oisin Gallagher

Suspended: None


Injured: None

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None