Dylan O’Connell reports from the RSC
Drogheda United put seven goals passed a COVID-19 decimated Waterford on Saturday evening at the RSC.
Two of the Blues senior players were deemed close contacts of a confirmed coronavirus case, so the club called up their Under-19 squad for the game.
The experience of Drogehda ran rampant over the youth of Waterford, whose Under-19s had not played since December 2020.
The first chance for the visitors came through an in-swinging free kick from club captain Jake Hyland. He dropped the ball into a chaotic penalty box and Daniel O’Reilly twisted free to head towards goal. His effort spun away from goal and went narrowly wide.
The opening goal was the product of Darragh Markey’s awareness, which saw him pounce onto a loose ball and fire it into the roof of the net.
Mark Doyle turned in a corner from Hyland which made it 2-0 after 25 minutes. From the restart, Drogheda snatched the ball and set up Dane Massey, who made it 3-0 from close range.
In the closing moments of the first half, Chris Lyons scored twice. The first saw the forward turn in a cross from James Brown and the second was from a penalty.
Despite the scoreline there were plenty of moments of quality from the young Waterford team. Cian Browne had an iron set of lungs which allowed for a near constant press on Drogheda. Lekan Oki was a force at the back for the Blues and he repeatedly saved the team with his last minute clearances.
The performance was a testament to the club’s academy who have been all conquering at Under-19 level in recent seasons - in 2019 they were League of Ireland champions at that level and last season they went a game away from the final to defend their crown. While the final score may look harsh, there were plenty of moments of quality from the young Blues.
The sixth goal for the Boynesiders was a work of art. The ball was passed around 31 times by the team before getting crossed to the back post by James Clarke. Dane Massey was there to strike first time and finish the excellent sequence of play.
After a corner ball rebounded off the cross bar, Killian Philips was there to turn it in and complete Drogheda’s night in Waterford.
Waterford FC: Kyle Cooke, Lekan Oki, Cian Browne, Sam Morrissey, Killian Griffin, Callum Stringer, Graham O’Reilly (Alan Dunwoody 78), Jamie Lee (Paul Omotosho 38) , Liam Kervick, Ivan Homoki (Michael Quinlan 55), Jamie Brazil (Jamie Maher 78).
Players not used: Matthew Connor.
Drogheda United: David Odumosu, James Brown (Charles Mutawe 65), Conor Kane, Daniel O’Reilly, Darragh Markey (Luke Heeney 70), Gary Deegan, Chris Lyons (Jordan Adeyemo 61), Jake Hyland (James Clarke 61), Mark Doyle (Brandon Bermingham 61), Killian Philips, Dane Massey.
Players not used: Colin McCabe, Hugh Douglas, Sam O’Brien, Ryan O’Shea.
Referee: Ben Connolly
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Dane Massey (Drogheda United)