BALLYNANTY Rovers’ dreams of reaching the quarter-finals of the FAI Ford Senior Cup were shattered by Airtricity League Premier Division outfit Drogheda United in a 4-0 defeat at The Fairgreen on Sunday.
Gavan Holohan’s second goal for the Drogs on the stroke of half time effectively ended Bally’s hopes of pulling off a giant-killing act.
Trailing 1-0 just before the break, the Limerick junior side had remained very much in an entertaining contest between last season’s FAI Senior and Junior Cup finalists.
Two second half goals from Man of the Match Gary O’Neill sealed an emphatic win for the Co Louth side.
The strong nature of Drogs’ starting line-up provided an indication of how seriously the League of Ireland side took their opponents’ threat.
Having said that, while Balla’ produced a number of decent scoring chances through the exciting Alex Purcell and Dara Hughes in the second half, the home side’s goalkeeper Stephen McNamara was a strong contender for the Man of the Match accolade having made a string of excellent saves.
Drogs’ greater match sharpness levels, as the League of Ireland side enters the final third of the season, while Balla’s season is just in its infancy, was another telling factor in deciding the outcome of the tie.
Ballynanty, winners over Dublin intermediate side, Phoenix FC, in the previous round, lacked nothing in terms of industry and spirit, but the local side couldn’t match their opponents’ movement, slick passing and cutting edge.
Afterwards Ballynanty manager Damian Conway said: “I feel a bit of pride, really, because we put up a good show there against a professional outfit.
“Drogheda put out a very serious, very strong side against us. There was no mention of their squad players being used for this one.
BALLLYNANTY ROVERS - Stephen McNamara, Dara Hughes, Shane Doran (Derek Daly 65), David Dunphy, Ryan Earls, Danny McInerney, Ronan Ryan, Derek Hanlon (Dean O’Brien 65), Alex Purcell, Jamie Brommell, Eddie Radcliffe (Brian Doran 60).
DROGHEDA UNITED - Michael Schlingerman, Mick Daly (Paul Crowley 50), Shane Grimes (Capt) (Roy Kireans 50), Alan McNally, Gavan Holohan, Gary O’Neill, Gavin Brennan, Ciaran McGuigan, Daire Doyle, Declan O’Brien, Peter McGlynn (Gareth Brady 64) .
REFEREE - Kevin O’Regan (Kerry)