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MIkey magic does the job for hoops

THE decision by young striker Mikey Drennan to sign for Shamrock Rovers despite an offer from league champions Dundalk is proving to be a very profitable one for the Dublin club, as Drennan has once again proved to be a most valuable addition by Pat Fenlon.

Drennan has not just scored a lot of goals in the league this season but most of them have been crucial strikes, and last night at home to a dogged Drogheda United the Kilkenny lad claimed the only goal of the game.

When he'd decided to leave Aston Villa midway through the current Premier League season, Dundalk had an offer on the table for Drennan but he opted for Hoops over Lilywhites, and it's largely thanks to the U21 cap that Rovers are now just three points behind leaders Dundalk, though Stephen Kenny's men have a game in hand.

Drogheda came to Tallaght last night having managed just one point from the previous six games but they made Pat Fenlon's men work hard for this win, and with a more clinical approach in front of goal, John McDonnell's brave side would have been able to take at least a point back to Louth.

Rovers have frustrated their fans at home on many occasions this season and boss Pat Fenlon said in advance of the game that the Hoops supporters would have to be patient.

Last night, the wait for the opening goal was just 19 minutes, Drennan netting his seventh league goal in 11 league games. The Kilkenny lad has scored some stunning goals for Rovers this season, but this one last night was the easiest of his short League of Ireland career, a simple tap-in from very close range after the Drogheda defence fell asleep and failed to deal with Brandon Miele's cross from the right wing.

Up to that point the home side had been very much on top as Drogheda needed a good block from veteran defender Alan Byrne to keep out Drennan on 10 minutes, and not long after Drennan's goal, United called on captain Mick Daly to block an almost-certain goal from Keith Fahey.

Yet to their credit, Drogheda remained very much in the game and with a mixture of their spirit, and some needless errors from the home side, made sure that away fans retained an interest in the game.

But Drogheda suffered a blow early in the second half when skipper Daly was forced off due to injury. Daly gives this Drogheda side leadership as well as skill and his presence was missed. Yet Rovers looked lacklustre in the second half, and for all their possession, they were unable to trouble United keeper Micheál Schlingermann, bar a stunning strike by Brandon Miele which came off the cross bar in the final minute.