Tuesday 23 April 2019

Beating Cobh is Clancy's only concern on final day

Marcus Cavaroli

The battle for fourth place will be decided on the last weekend of the season, but Tim Clancy isn't concerned with permutations and instead is focused on one fact - his Drogheda United team will be in the play-offs if they beat Cobh Ramblers on Saturday (7.45pm).

The Boynesiders' victory over chief rivals Longford last Friday means that their destiny is in their own hands and the midlanders must beat newly-crowned champions UCD to stand any chance of pipping Drogheda to the final play-off position.

Clancy, however, is not taking anything for granted, especially after making the long trip to The Brandywell on Sunday and watching Cobh put it up to Derry before going down 3-1 in the EA Sports Cup Final.

'Cobh were right in the game, probably until Derry got their second goal, and they've a good lad up front, Chris Hull, who won quite a lot of balls in the air and worked tirelessly, so it won't be easy for us,' said Clancy, speaking on Monday.

'They are well organised and the fact they got to the final is testament to how they play.

'They would have been preparing for it for a few weeks, so you just don't know how they will react, but we have to focus on what we are doing and do our best to get a win. Hopefully we can get a good performance and it's in our own hands.'

Clancy had to watch the victory over Longford from the stand, and with director of football Dave Robertson also serving a four-match ban, assistant manager Kevin Doherty had Under-19s coaches Wayne Groves and Gareth Dodrill with him in the dugout.

'It was difficult, frustrating, because you want to give information to the players and you're not allowed to, but we've worked together all year and Kevin and I are signing from the same hymn sheet.

'It was a very good game from a neutral's point of view, but I don't think it would be good for the ticker if you had to deal with that every week, with their keeper going close with a header in the last seconds of the game.

'But I thought we were excellent and I don't think the performance was any different to the Longford away game when we lost 1-0.' Asked if the atmosphere in the camp had been boosted by the victory, Clancy felt that wasn't the case.

'The atmosphere has been very good in training for the last couple of weeks. The Shamrock Rovers game was a massive win for us, and in Cabinteely - which isn't an easy place to go - the fact we scored in the 95th minute maybe put a positive spin on it as opposed to being a negative.

'Even in the UCD match we were well in the game until the sending-off.' Clancy and Robertson must serve a further three games and key striker Chris Lyons is just a booking away from a one-match ban, but Sean Brennan and Kevin Farragher are available after serving their suspensions. It's good news on the injury front, too, as Gareth McCaffrey looks set to recover from a knock he sustained last week.

'Hopefully we can get the right team on the pitch, and we now have options to come off the bench as well,' Clancy concluded.

Drogheda won the clubs' previous match in St Colman's Park 5-1 back in April, but their most recent encounter was much tighter as the Boynesiders hung on for a 2-1 success. A draw might be enough this time to secure their place in the play-offs, even if Longford defeat UCD, but supporters making the long trip south will be hoping they don't have to bring out the calculators come 9.30 on Saturday night.

The permutations:

DROGHEDA WIN: 4th v 3rd play-off against Shelbourne secured. Would finish 3rd if Shels fail to beat Galway, therefore earning home advantage in the 2nd leg.

DROGHEDA DRAW: Last play-off position (4th) secured unless Longford beat UCD by three goals or more.

DROGHEDA LOSE: Would miss out on the play-offs altogether if Longford beat UCD by any margin

Drogheda Independent