A Chris Lyons second-half penalty cancelled out Graham Burke’s first-half spot kick as Drogheda United held Shamrock Rovers to a 1-1 draw in-front of 1,000 fans in Tallaght Stadium.
Stephen Bradley made one change to his side to that that lost 1-0 to Bohemians in Dalymount Park on Monday night. Skipper Ronan Finn returned to the starting eleven in-place of the injured Chris McCann. Dylan Watts was included on the Shamrock Rovers bench after a frustrating couple of weeks due to injury.
Tim Clancy’s side came to the capital looking to bounce back from Monday evening’s 1-0 loss to Vinny Perth’s Dundalk in Head In The Game Park, and made three changes to his starting XI. Into the side came Ronan Murray, Jordan Adeyemo & Dinny Corcoran.
With 1,000 fans inside Tallaght Stadium – which included 100 Drogheda fans – it was a welcome sight for League of Ireland enthusiasts to finally see both sides supporters at a game for the first time in over 16 months due to the coronavirus global pandemic.
The hosts saw the majority of the ball early on, and found themselves 1-0 up after 20 minutes despite not creating many chances. Former Dundalk teammates Sean Gannon and Dane Massey tangled in the Drogheda box, which saw the latter foul the new Rovers wing-back.
Graham Burke cooly sent David Odumosu the wrong way to break the deadlock in Tallaght, and in doing so netting his seventh league goal of the 2021 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division campaign.
The first-half saw very few real chances created from either side, as Rovers went into the break leading by a goal to nil.
Ten minutes into the second-half, Tim Clancy brought on Mark Doyle and Chris Lyons (both who had netted 7 times each in the league) to try and break down The Hoops’ defence.
20 minutes into the second-half, Graham Burke went from hero to zero for the home side. After a mazy dribble through the Rovers defence, Burke brought down Darragh Markey inside the Rovers box and referee Paul McLaughlin pointed straight to the spot.
Up stepped former Shamrock Rovers B striker Chris Lyons to fire the visitors level as he netted his eighth of the season.
Drogheda were buoyed by this equaliser as their fans certainly backed them from Tallaght’s West Stand. However, as the game drew closer to an end, Drogheda began to drop deeper and deeper into their half with the hosts looking for yet another late winner.
The Hoops were inches away from nicking all three points in the 90th minute. A Sean Hoare looping cross missed everyone in the Drogheda box, but bounced back off the back post of Odumosu’s goal and the visitor’s defence cleared the second-ball.
Drogheda comfortably saw out the remaining minutes to pick up a point on their travels as they remain in 4th place after 18 games of this season’s Premier Division campaign. Meanwhile, the hosts remain joint top with St. Patrick’s Athletic on 35 points at the mid-way stage of the league season.
Next up for Shamrock Rovers is a visit from Dundalk to Tallaght next Friday evening in an 8pm kick-off. Drogheda host Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps at Head In The Game Park on the same night, in a 7:45pm kick-off.
Shamrock Rovers: 1. Alan Mannus; 3. Sean Hoare, 4. Roberto Lopes, 15. Liam Scales; 2. Sean Gannon, 8. Ronan Finn (C), 16. Gary O’Neill, 9. Aaron Greene; 10. Graham Burke, 20. Rory Gaffney, 14. Danny Mandroiu.
Drogheda United: 23. David Odumosu; 21. Luke Heeney, 5. Daniel O’Reilly, 41. Dane Massey, 3. Conor Kane; 8. Gary Deegan, 7. Darragh Markey, 17. Ronan Murray (56′ Mark Doyle), 19. Killian Phillips; 10. Dinny Corcoran (C) (69′ James Clarke), 20. Jordan Adeyemo (56′ Chris Lyons).