LIAM BUCKLEY gambled and lost last night as his decision to rest eight players ahead of Thursday's Europa League second-leg tie with CS Maritimo helped Drogheda to snatch a shock 2-1 win over Sporting Fingal at the Morton Stadium.
The manager's priorities were there for all to see, but his cause wasn't helped by the harsh dismissal of Keith Quinn late in the first half; Drogheda's Eoghan Osbourne joined him late on.
However, that sending off failed to stop the Drogs from creating one last chance. Peter McMahon swung in an 87th-minute free-kick, which was met by a Michael Daly header. Darren Quigley parried and Alan McNally bundled the ball home.
The Sporting shake-up resulted in a disjointed opening, but Eamon Zayed broke the deadlock.
Ollie Cahill's cross was turned goalward by Kevin Dawson and Zayed, who looked offside when the ball was played, beat Osbourne to the ball to poke it past Paul Skinner.
McMahon missed a glorious chance to level at the other end. He played a neat one-two with John Flood, whose return set him up with a clear sight of goal, but he got it all wrong and fired over from 10 yards.
But McMahon made up for the miss, with Flood again the provider, taking Darren Meenan's throw-in and angling a pinpoint ball to the former UCD man, who took a touch past Colm James and beat Quigley for his first goal for the club.
Things got worse for Sporting before the break as referee Derek Tomney showed Quinn a second yellow for a foul on McNally, and a man up, Drogheda saw a chance to gain a much-needed away victory.
Fingal nearly stole it late on, Dawson firing wide from substitute Alan Kirby's free-kick, but McNally delivered a deserved win for the visitors.