Brennan steals points for high-flying Drogheda
Gavin Brennan was the hero for Drogheda United at Tolka Park last night, as his sensational 93rd-minute finish gave the visitors victory from a pulsating encounter, reducing Sligo Rovers' lead at the top of the table to three points.
Shels looked like they had earned a share of the spoils through an outstanding Conan Byrne strike after 74 minutes, but Brennan's cross-cum-shot deceived Chris Bennion deep into stoppage-time.
Drogheda had started the game in a lively fashion, and took the lead after 12 minutes when Cathal Brady finished past Bennion from close in, after the former Monaghan custodian had failed to deal with O'Brien's powerfully struck free-kick from all of 35 yards.
Kevin Dawson did test Gabriel Sava with an effort from the edge of the box after 16 minutes -- this followed an earlier attempt from the industrious midfielder and his engine room partner John Sullivan, who kept the visitors' defence stretched.
Despite Shels' strong finish to the first half, it was Drogs who had the best opportunities in the opening moments after the re-start, as two narrow misses from Peter Hynes came either side of a cracking 30-yard free-kick from left-back Philip Hand which hit the crossbar.
Drogheda continued to control the game in the middle-third of the park, but they were hit by a sucker punch just shy of the final quarter when Byrne finished to the top left-hand corner of Sava's goal from 30 yards at the end of an intricate move involving Lorcan Fitzgerald and Philip Gorman.
This set the game up for a tantalising finale, and Drogheda hit the woodwork for a second time through substitute Sean Brennan's looping effort with seven minutes left.
It looked like the two sides would have to settle for a share of the spoils, but Brennan had other ideas, as his fortuitous effort gave Drogheda their ninth victory of the season.
Shelbourne -- Bennion; Matthews, Paisley, Hurley, Fitzgerald; Cassidy, Sullivan (Shortall 61), Dawson, Kavanagh (C Byrne 46); Hughes, Gorman (Boyle 88).
drogheda utd -- Sava; McMahon, Prendergast, McNally, Hand; Brady (S Brennan 76), Byrne (Foley 80), Crowley, G Brennan; O'Brien, Hynes.
Ref -- D Hancock (Dublin)