Dennehy: We need treble to make season
Shamrock Rovers 2 Drogheda United 0
At the very least, Shamrock Rovers will end 2013 with two trophies, but if they are to look back on the year with any sense of satisfaction a third is required.
After Saturday's underwhelming victory in, quite frankly, an underwhelming competition, no one, least of all the Rovers players, were getting carried away.
"Personally, that won't be enough to make me happy with our season," said Billy Dennehy. "At this club you want to be firing on all fronts; to be having big European nights and the big cup finals. All the lads in the dressing-room feel exactly the same way."
With the semi-final of the FAI Cup to come, their mood could yet change. And while it wasn't exactly glum on Saturday, no one was in the humour to pretend that this victory over Drogheda – just the second time the club has won the EA Sports Cup – was going to be stored away in their list of life memories.
"Don't get me wrong, it is important," said goalkeeper Barry Murphy. "To grind out results like that – especially when you don't perform – helps knit the group together and allows us to push on for bigger and better things."
Only a fool would back against them because, while their semi-final away to Sligo is far from easy, this Hoops team is beginning to mature nicely.
Saturday proved that. Despite their failure to get into any rhythm, they ruthlessly took the opportunities that came their way and then defended with both intelligence and heart when the inevitable surge from Drogheda occurred.
Gary McCabe, from a penalty, and Tommy Stewart got the goals in a match which saw Ken Oman and Derek Prendergast sent off in the second half. Oman was given his marching orders on 70 minutes after receiving a second yellow card for the for a foul on Declan O'Brien, while Prendergast's reaction drew a straight red after the referee ruled that he had fouled Sean O'Connor right on the lip of the penalty area.
"I can't argue with the penalty," said Drogheda manager Mick Cooke. "But I do feel the result was harsh on us. We played pretty well and had more possession."
Crucially, they didn't know what to do with it, though. Like Rovers, Drogheda passed the ball poorly throughout and their finishing was dreadful.
So, the second trophy of the Trevor Croly era was acquired, following the Hoops' Setanta Cup success earlier in the season. Yet these competitions aren't the majors. The FAI Cup and even more significantly, the league, are where they measure success.
SHAMROCK ROVERS – Murphy; Sullivan, McGuinness, Oman, Powell; Finn, Robinson, Ryan, Dennehy (0'Connor 81); McCabe (Elebert 71), Stewart (Zayed 90).
Drogheda Utd – Schlingermann; Daly, McNally, Prendergast, Grimes; Byrne (Foley 62); Cassidy (Rusk 87), O'Connor (Hynes 74), R Brennan, G Brennan; O'Brien.
Ref – P Sutton (Clare).