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‘Reward for working harder than Rovers’

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Drogheda United goal-scoring legend Guy Bates presents the Integral Fitness & Leisure Man of the Match award to Ryan Brennan (left) and Luke Heeney after Monday night's victory over Shamrock Rovers. Picture: Larry McQuillan

Drogheda United goal-scoring legend Guy Bates presents the Integral Fitness & Leisure Man of the Match award to Ryan Brennan (left) and Luke Heeney after Monday night's victory over Shamrock Rovers. Picture: Larry McQuillan

Shamrock Rovers’ Sean Gannon is pursued by James Clarke of Drogheda United. Picture: Paul Connor

Shamrock Rovers’ Sean Gannon is pursued by James Clarke of Drogheda United. Picture: Paul Connor

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Drogheda United goal-scoring legend Guy Bates presents the Integral Fitness & Leisure Man of the Match award to Ryan Brennan (left) and Luke Heeney after Monday night's victory over Shamrock Rovers. Picture: Larry McQuillan

droghedaindependent

MONDAY night’s match-winner in Drogheda United’s victory over Shamrock Rovers, Ryan Brennan, believes that his team’s greater workrate was key in ending the league champions’ 13-match unbeaten record.

The 30-year-old midfielder became the Boynesiders’ top scorer this season with four when he headed home the only goal of a thrilling contest in the 37th minute.

But Brennan, who was named joint Man of the Match along with another local boy, Luke Heeney, was keen to stress the importance of the team effort in securing a second consecutive victory.

Asked whether it was one of the most satisfying goals of his 12-year League of Ireland career, he responded: “Absolutely, but the most important thing was the result and we would have snapped your hand off for a draw at the start of the game.

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“We’ll take all three points here. We’re absolutely chuffed and hopefully we can bounce into next Friday and give Bohs a good game up in Dalymount.”

The goal came totally against the run of play and was all the more enjoyable for that, according to Brennan.

“It was a throw-in and you know when Dayle gets the ball out of his feet it’s only going in one place, so I just peeled off and got into the box,” Brennan recalled.

“It was inch-perfect, like. It was an inch over the defender’s head. It’s on a plate and if I missed it I would be fairly disappointed, so Dayle has to take credit for the ball in.

“I just got in the right area and hopefully I can keep doing that throughout the season.”

Brennan felt that Rovers were unable to match Drogheda’s desire and that probably cost the Hoops all three points.

“The minimum for us was to work hard and I think we done that,” he said.

“It’s back to basics. We know what Rovers are like and the quality they have, and if you out-work a team you will always give yourselves a chance. I think we done that, especially in the first half.

“We had something to hold onto in the second half and luckily enough we kept them at bay and got the three points.

“There was a bit of chopping and changing as well (because of Dane Massey’s injury), so we’re absolutely chuffed with the effort and I suppose we got our rewards at the end of it.

“I was happy enough to split Man of the Match with Luke-y because he put in a fair shift when he had to fill in at right-back.”

Brennan feels the two wins have put Drogheda in a much better place, and there’s potential to move up the table if the injury situation starts to improve.

“We’re just going to take it game by game,” he said.

“I think that’s the way to look at it. The bigger picture for us is to stay up, but maybe we can catch onto the coat-tails (of other clubs) at some stage after the break.

“I think Kev was talking about bringing a couple of bodies in - we have a lot of lads back from injury and a lot to select from as well – and that would give us those extra options which is massive for us.

“We had a pretty depleted squad for the last six to eight weeks and it’s been a difficult period for Kevin, but we’ve dug deep. We lost a couple of games, but we stopped the rot on Friday night and added another three points to where we want to be tonight.”

Brennan himself has now scored equalising goals against Finn Harps and Derry City and a winner against Shamrock Rovers as well as scoring against Dundalk – worth four points in all – but he’s not going to start talking about hitting double figures for the season at this stage.

“I haven’t set any targets, not after I got injured in pre-season. I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself. I just wanted to get back fit and try to play as many games as I can, coming off the bench and things like that.

“To put myself in contention to start a game, I’m happy enough with that and I’ll just see where it takes me.

“Contributing to the team is the most important thing.”


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