Experimental Drogs are left Shel-shocked
Soccer EA Sports Cup: Shelbourne 7 Drogheda United 2
It was quite literally men against boys last Tuesday night as Drogheda United crashed out of the EA Sports Cup in the first of two clashes with Shelbourne in 72 hours.
Tim Clancy might regret being quite so experimental as his young charges suffered a heavy defeat and one can only hope that they ultimately benefit from the experience even if confidence might be at a low ebb in the meantime.
Only one player from the two teams - Shelbourne's Gavin Boyne - kept his place following their league matches the previous weekend, indicating how both managers feel about this particular competition.
However, Drogheda's selection was certainly more experimental as Clancy included six teenagers - including 17-year-olds Jordan Adeyemo, Leo Tang and William Hondermarck.
Even so, it was quite remarkable that three days after scoring four goals in eight first-half minutes down in Cobh, the Boynesiders found themselves on the other side of that exact same scenario!
Forty-year-old Dave Mulcahy, who of course lined out for the claret and blues last season, started the rout and further strikes from Dayle Rooney, Cian Kavanagh and Jamie Doyle - a penalty - had Shels 4-0 ahead by the 27th minute.
The Drogs were themselves awarded a spot kick on the stroke of half-time, but Stephen Meaney's effort was brilliantly turned round the post by Lee Steacy.
Straight after the restart Doyle added to Drogheda's woes and Shane Farrell made it 6-0 on the hour mark.
Somehow the visitors rallied with two goals in barely 60 seconds, through Trimble and the impressive Hondermarck who was making his senior debut, but Shels had the final say when Doyle gave Luca Grazer absolutely no chance with a 30-yard screamer.
So for Drogheda there's no trip to the new Brandywell to face Derry City in the quarter-finals on Monday week.
Then again, with important league games away to Finn Harps the Friday before and away to Athlone the Friday after, perhaps Drogheda are better off not having to travel to Derry on the bank holiday!
Shelbourne: Lee Steacy, James Woods, Reece McEnteer, Dylan Grimes, Dave Mulcahy, Aaran Molloy, Dayle Rooney, Jamie Doyle, Shane Farrell, Cian Kavanagh, Gavin Boyne (James O'Brien 46). Subs not used: Dean Delany, Derek Prendergast, Alan Byrne, James English, Adam Evans, James Brown.
Yellow: Jamie Doyle (60)
Drogheda United: Luka Gratzer; Lloyd Buckley (Colm Deasy 38), Sean Trimble, Victor Ekanem, Leo Tang, Kealan Dillon, Eoin McPhillips, Gareth McCaffrey, Stephen Meaney, William Hondermarck, Jordan Adeyemo. Subs not used: Lee Duffy, Sean Brennan, Chris Lyons, Ciaran Kelly, Paul Skinner, Richie Purdy.
Yellow: Gareth McCaffrey (43)
Referee: Rob Rogers