Brennan spot-on to sink United
FORMER Drogheda United favourite Ryan Brennan came back to haunt his home-town club on Tuesday night last as the Boynesiders’ miserable record in recent knockout competitions continued.
With two of his siblings injured and the other, Gavin, rested as Drogs boss Pete Mahon changed his entire starting 11, the youngest of the Rathmullen brothers took centre stage, scoring one penalty and missing another to send Bray through to a second-round away tie with St Pat’s.
At a near-empty United Park, there were first competitive starts of the season for Eoghan Dempsey and Jamie Hollywood and a first appearance in Drogheda colours of new signing Ryan Coulter in goal, with the likes of Kevin Farragher, Lloyd Buckley, Conor Kane, Shane Elworthy, Ryan McEvoy and Adam Wixted all benefiting from some rare game time.
It was captain-for-the-night Buckley whose foul on highly-rated Dylan Connolly earned Bray their first spot kick after only 11 minutes and Brennan duly fired past Coulter.
Drogheda’s best chance of an equaliser came on 25 minutes when Conor Kenna - one of six former Drogs in Bray’s squad - lost possession to Wixted and he set up Thomas Byrne who forced Peter Cherrie into a great save.
At the other end Coulter tipped a Darragh Noone shot over the bar, but Drogheda had a huge let-off moments later when Hollywood was harshly deemed to have handled in the area, only for Brennan to drive his second penalty over the bar.
Coulter, by far the busier of the two keepers, denied Brennan mid-way through the second half before narrowing the angle and forcing Connolly to shoot wide.
Mahon brought on Gareth McCaffrey and Jake Hyland in a bid to force extra time, and the Drogs nearly drew level on 89 minutes as McCaffrey and Byrne combined to set Kane free down the left and his deep cross was teed up for McCaffrey who fired over the bar.
Despite six minutes being added after lengthy treatment for Lloyd Buckley earlier, the Bray defence managed to keep a clean sheet for the first time this season and book their place in round two.