Plenty of Drogheda United supporters had a vested interest in November’s Promotion/Relegation play-off final against UCD, and Waterford.
The Students upset plenty of punters with their 1-0 win over their Munster adversaries, courtesy of a towering Tommy Lonergan header.
This victory ensured Andy Myler’s lads would keep hold of their Premier Division status for the 2023 season. This means UCD will be one of the two part-time clubs in the topflight come the New Year, with the other being, Drogheda United.
With Cork City winning the First Division, and gaining promotion under a full-time model, having Waterford also enter the top-tier, who operate under that same structure would’ve put Drogheda under serious pressure for the 2023 campaign.
Early odds released by bookmakers mostly have Drogheda as second-favourites for automatic relegation in 2023, just behind UCD.
While it would still be a tad bit early to lock-in official predictions for next season, common judgement will tell you that UCD will be scrapping to avoid the drop zone. Especially, when you consider they’ve lost the services of Colm Whelan, Evan Caffrey, Tommy Lonergan and Sean Brennan.
With the new season commencing in a few weeks, we still have a bit of moving and shaking to see, both on, and off the field.
Drogheda In 2023
Drogs will not enter the 2023 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division season as a full-time football club.
It’s no secret that seeking future investors is the main goal for the Louth outfit in the near future.
Former Drogheda United Chairperson, Conor Hoey made it known late last year that the club were vigorously pursuing investment to ensure their Premier Division status stays in tacked on a long-term basis.
While he stepped down from his post in November, the Dubliner still remains on the board, with the task of seeking out the right individual, or group investor.
Hoey was replaced by Sein Fein Councillor Joanna Byrne, who will be the only female Chairperson in the League of Ireland this year.
Conor Hoey was at the helm for four years, and displayed nothing but passion for the club and its community throughout. His late father, Vincent was Chairman of the club when they won their last Premier Division title in 2007.
Joanna Byrne will proudly pick up that mantle off the back of her local political career, and with the club’s best interest at heart as a life-long member of the Claret and Blue Army. She also has family ties to this role, as her grandfather Mick was Drogheda’s Chairman, and General Manager in the 1980’s.
It’s now up to these higher-ups to sniff out additional funds which would go a long-way to advancing a new stadium project.
Doherty Budget Woes
Drogheda’s current financial woes has mounted pressure on manager, Kevin Doherty.
Despite his side avoiding the drop-zone by a comfortable 12 points in 2022, Doherty’s side are heavily tipped to be apart of the relegation dogfight in the upcoming Premier Division campaign.
Against the backdrop of this investor hunt, Doherty and his staff are in the process of building a squad for the new season.
The likes of Gary Deegan, Darragh Markey, Ryan Brennan and Evan Weir have re-signed, with the latter penning a new two-year deal. They’ll be joined by young recruits like Michael Leddy, Emmanuel Adegboyega, Ben Curtis, and most notably, Sean Brennan who shined for UCD last season.
These new young recruits can certainly develop while playing regular Premier Division football with Drogheda United. But the lack of a significant cash injection has left Doherty to scramble within the transfer market.
2023 is going to offer up a tough gig for the management team. As they’re in a position where certain First Division sides can provide better wage packages to potential incoming players.
As a supporter it can be desperately agitating when waiting throughout these circumstances, especially as the season edges closer.
These situations can involve plenty of to-ing and fro-ing, but when securing the long-term future of a beloved club, patience is the price everyone involved must pay when searching for the ideal avenue of investment.
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