Under-19s ill-prepared for tough Shels test
DROGHEDA United under 19's opened their Elite Division campaign with a home defeat to Shelbourne at Hunky Dorys Park last Saturday.
Shaun Maher's youthful side were up against a stiff challenge before a ball was kicked in anger with the club still in the process of putting together a squad for the season ahead.
Indeed, the side had only started to take shape ten days before their opening fixture of the season. Their cause was further hampered when they were unable to name four would-be starters on the team sheet to face their Dublin rivals.
Despite these difficult circumstances Drogheda started the game well and was competitive for large spells of the first half. They looked very dangerous from set pieces and created some half chances as a result.
The young United players suffered a massive setback on the stroke of halftime when Dylan Connolly grabbed the opening goal of the game.
The second half was not as even as the first and Shels showed glimpses of why they are considered to be the strongest team in Dublin this year. They went up a gear and their fitness level told as they pressed high up the pitch forcing Drogheda into mistakes. This upset United's gameplan of playing out from the back and Shels began to take control of the match.
As the game moved into its closing stages Shelbourne made sure of the win when Armstrong Bekombo got a second goal for the visitors.
Drogheda United: Farrell, Ryan Byrnes, Ciaran Cluskey-Kelly, Cormack O'Neill, Roy Kierans, Robert Cashment, Ethan Burke, Tom O'Reilly, Jordan Harmon, Darragh Mahony, Kian Fitzpatrick. Subs: Daniel Murray, James Douglas, Lee Fahey, James Burke.