Shamrock Rovers rely on strong second-half showing to see off Drogheda
Shamrock Rovers 4 Drogheda United 0
Shamrock Rovers converted most of the second-half chances they’d squandered before the break to cruise past First Division Drogheda United into the FAI Cup quarter-final.
There would be no repeat of last year's Cup giant-killing feat for Drogs as substitute Gary O’Neill, Aaron Greene, Aaron McEneff and Sean Kavanagh wrapped up a facile victory.
Graham Burke rattled the crossbar in a frustrating opening 45 minutes but they were clinical after the break.
When Drogs failed to clear Jack Byrne corner on 56 minutes, his second delivery was telegraphed perfectly for O’Neill to arrive on cue to glance his header into the far corner.
Burke’s potent left foot helped produce the second four minutes later. His wicked free-kick from 30 yards was spilled by Luca Gratzer, allowing Greene to smash home the rebound.
Only a last-ditch block by Mark Doyle prevented Byrne grabbing the third but with 17 minutes left McEneff succeeded from a similar angle, cutting in from the left to drill a low shot inside the near post.
Evidently fatigued in the closing stages, Drogs conceded again 10 minutes later, with Kavanagh nicking Greene's right-wing cross home from six yards.
Shamrock Rovers: A Mannus; E Boyle (G O’Neill 46), R Lopes, L Grace; R Finn, G Bolger (D Watts 67), A McEneff, J Byrne (B Kavanagh 74), S Kavanagh; A Greene, G Burke.
Drogheda Utd: L Gratzer; J Brown, K Farragher, L McNally, C Kane; S Meaney (A Wixted 67), J Hollywood (R O’Shea 74), J Hyland, M Doyle; S Brennan (L Heeney 61); C Lyons.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Donegal).