RESULT: Drogheda United 2 Cobh Ramblers 0; Aggregate (4-2)
First half goals from Declan O'Brien and Shaun Gallagher edged Drogheda United another step closer to Premier Division survival in the promotion/relegation semi-final second leg play-off with a 2-0 victory over Cobh Ramblers at O2 Park on Saturday and now go forward to the big two-leg decider against Galway United this week.
This semi-final tie was balanced on a knife edge following the first-leg 2-2 draw at St. Colman's Park last Wednesday and it was a tense night in front of a near capacity crowd at the County Louth venue.
Drogheda fans were relieved when prolific Cobh striker Willie Bruton, scorer of two penalties last Wednesday, chipped past United 'keeper Gary Rogers but just the wrong side of the upright after five minutes.
Then Cobh's Declan McGregor almost got ahead of Rogers after ten minutes, only for the giant 'keeper to get a vital touch on the ball to avert the danger. United quickly turned the screw after a nervous opening and they grabbed the lead on the half hour. Striker Andy Myler beat the offside trap wide on the right and pulled the ball back across goal where Declan O'Brien was waiting to gleefully rifle home.
Harry McCue's men continued to pressurise and they were rewarded with a vital second goal seconds before the interval. Again Myler supplied the telling pass when playing a neat interchange with midfielder Shaun Gallagher who executed a clinical finish with a superb 14 yard strike past Cobh 'keeper Derek Slattery.
O'Brien went close to his second on 56 minutes but just curled his shot inches over the bar from 20 yards. The closest Cobh came to narrowing the gap came on 73 minutes when player/manager Dave Hill swept a
free-kick just wide of the upright.
24 min - O'Brien
44 min - Gallagher