Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Paul O'Hehir

Late Drogheda equalizer frustrates league leaders Shamrock rovers

ROBERTO LOPES is a Champions League doubt for Shamrock Rovers after shipping a knee injury in their draw with Drogheda United.

Aidomo Emakhu looked to have won it for the Hoops with a powerful 79th minute header, only for Evan Weir to equalise three minutes from time.

But Weir was then dismissed two minutes later for a second booking while Ryan Brennan denied Emakhu a winner at the death with a brilliant and vital block.

READ MORE: Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley's emotional thank you for the lift people have given his son

The Hoops were nowhere near their best ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League second-leg with Bulgarian aces Ludogorets, who lead 3-0 on aggregate.

And now they are sweating on star centre-back Lopes who limped off nine minutes into the second-half.

“You know when he comes off he’s hurt because he doesn't come off,” said Rovers boss Stephen Bradley, who could also be without Jack Byrne who sat out this game.

“The doctor is with ‘Pico’ and we need to see how it settles over the next few hours. Hopefully it settles and he’s not too bad.”

Drogheda were up for a fight and they frustrated Rovers - whose lead over Dundalk at the top is seven points.

“I thought we were the better team for most of the match,” said Drogs boss Kevin Doherty.

They enjoyed early possession but failed to work Alan Mannus.

Oppositie number Colin McCabe didn’t have a great deal to do either, but was perhaps fortunate to stay on the pitch.

Aaron Greene, chasing a Dylan Watts ball, went down under the big keeper’s first-half challenge just outside the box when last man.

But, to the great frustration of the Hoops contingent, referee Derek Tomney was having none of it and merely awarded a corner.

Bradley fumed: “I thought it was a horrendous decision. Whether it’s a sending off, I don’t know but how it’s not a booking!

“They said there was no contact, which is incredible. Everyone in the stadium could see there was contact. Why would Aaron go down? It’s an open goal with the keeper out.”

Needing a jolt, Rovers introduced Rory Gaffney for Richie Towell at the break but Drogheda still looked more threatening in the final third.

Graham Burke and Lopes had to clear a Keith Cowan header and Adam Foley follow-up off the line respectively.
But a dour game exploded into life in the final 11 minutes with Emakhu heading home at the near post.

Kavanagh had turned Georgie Poynton inside out before landing the ball on the substitute's head.

Rovers have developed a knack of scoring late goals in recent seasons, and they don’t tend to throw away those leads - but they did here.

From a Darragh Markey corner in the 87th minute, Weir found space and drilled a low shot through a sea of bodies.

But it was his final contribution as he was dismissed on a controversial second yellow two minutes later after fouling Andy Lyons.

Drogs boss Doherty, who saw Brennan deny Emakhu a winner at the death with a brilliant block, said of the dismissal: “It’s so soft.

“It’s disappointing as I thought there was worse in the game for a yellow card.”

Doherty added: “A Saturday game at 2pm, in between two European ties? Of course you’re going to have a little go off them. It’s a really good point.”

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; Gannon, Lopes (Hoare 54), Kavanagh; Farrugia (Grace 61), O’Neill, Towel (Gaffney 45)l, Lyons; Burke (Ferizaj 72), Watts; Greene (Emakhu 61).

DROGHEDA UNITED: McCabe; Poynton (Noone 84), Quinn, Cowan, Weir; Deegan, Clarke; Foley (Brennan 71), Markey, Rooney (Grimes 84); Williams (Lyons 75)

Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin).

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.