Brennan swoops to send Drogs through
DROGHEDA UNITED 2
DERRY CITY 1
(Drogheda win 3-2 on agg)
SUBSTITUTE Ryan Brennan struck in the fourth minute of stoppage-time to send Drogheda United into the Setanta Cup semi-finals in a dramatic finish at Hunky Dorys Park.
The tie was level at 2-2 on aggregate with Derry down to 10 men when the younger of the Brennnan brothers struck from close range to spare the fans the prospect of extra-time in the freezing conditions.
After a forgettable opening 15 minutes, Drogheda almost scored when David Cassidy's low shot was blocked on the line by Derry skipper Kevin Deery, and the Candystripes immediately countered with a curling Patrick McEleney effort that had to be pushed round the post by Gabriel Sava.
Just before half-time, Drogheda wasted a gilt-edge chance to take a big step towards the semi-finals when Ryan McBride's ill-advised lunge on Gary O'Neill resulted in a penalty, but the victim's spot kick was tame and Gerard Doherty dived to his left to make a comfortable save.
Just three minutes into the second half Derry's task became considerably harder when McBride, who had already been booked for the penalty incident, went in high on O'Neill again and was shown a straight red card by referee Neil Doyle.
The Drogheda player was stretchered off, to be replaced by Declan O'Brien, but it was Brennan who nearly broke the deadlock with a 30-yard drive that had to be tipped over by Doherty.
Ten-man Derry stunned the home support on 64 minutes when Michael Rafter blasted to the Drogheda net after a terrible mistake by Brian Gannon in his own six-yard area.
But Derry's lead in the tie lasted all of four minutes as Prendergast steered a low shot beyond Doherty from a Gavin Brennan cross.
The Candystripes looked like hanging on for extra-time but then Ryan Brennan popped up with a timely winner for the Drogs.
DROGHEDA UNITED – Sava; Gannon, Byrne, Prendergast, Hand; Daly (R Brennan 74), O'Conor, Cassidy; Rusk (Hynes 80), O'Neill (O'Brien), G Brennan.
DERRY CITY – Doherty; Deery, S McEleney, McBride, Madden; P McEleney (Griffin 45), Higgins, Molloy, Barry McNamee; Rafter (Curran 69), Patterson.
REF – N Doyle (Dublin).