Drogheda United F.C.

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Drogheda United FC
Drogheda United FC.svg
Full name Drogheda United Football Club
Nickname(s) Drogs, Boynesiders, Super Drogs
Founded 1975 [1]
Ground United Park, Drogheda, County Louth
Ground Capacity 2,000
Chairman Jim Agnew
Manager Darius Kierans (caretaker)
League League of Ireland
(Premier Division)
2013 8th
Website Club home page
Current season

Drogheda United Football Club (Irish: Cumann Peile Dhroichead Átha Aontaithe) is an Irish football club currently playing in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland. The club comes from Drogheda, County Louth, and, since 1979, plays its home matches at United Park.

The current club is the amalgamation of two former clubs in the town: Drogheda United, a non-league club founded in 1919;and Drogheda F.C., founded in 1962. The clubs merged their operations to form the current club in 1975 and have achieved success since 2005 by winning two Setanta Sports Cups, an FAI Cup, and their first league title, the 2007 League of Ireland.

History[edit]

1919-1975; (Early Years)[edit]

Founded in 1919 the original Drogheda United were a non-league club for all of their early years of existence but on Saturday 22 June 1963 another Drogheda Club - Drogheda F.C. (founded in 1962) were elected to the League of Ireland when the league was expanded to include twelve teams rather than ten. In their first season there they finished tenth and also in each of the next three seasons finished in the bottom three. In the 1967-68 season they achieved a respectable fifth place finish and the following season finished in sixth place. When the league expanded to include fourteen teams the club dropped down the table again finishing in the bottom five in each of the next six seasons and also recording their heaviest league defeat 8-1 to Cork Hibernians in the 1970-71 season. They did, however, get to FAI Cup Final that season where they were beaten 3-0 by Limerick.

1975-2003[edit]

In 1975 Drogheda F.C. amalgamated with Drogheda United to form Drogheda United F.C. and the 1975-76 season saw an improvement in fortunes on the field as they finished sixth in the league and they also reached the FAI Cup Final for the second time, this time losing 1-0 to Bohemians. For the next three seasons, quite the opposite at what had happened before, they finished in third place. During these seasons Drogheda United also achieved two club records - their biggest league victory (7-1 v Finn Harps) and Cathal Muckian scoring 21 league goals in a season. The club then endured another tough spell in the league finishing in the bottom half for the next five seasons bar the 1982-83 season when they managed to achieve their highest ever league placing of second place finishing sixteen points behind Athlone Town. They did win their first ever trophy during these seasons also, the League of Ireland Cup in the 1983-84 season.

The 1984-85 season saw the introduction of the League of Ireland First Division to begin the following season with Drogheda United among the four clubs who were relegated from the Premier Division but in this season also Drogheda United entered European Competition for the first time where they were destroyed against Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Cup First Round 14-0 on aggregate. They remained in the First Division until the 1988-89 season when they went up as First Division Champions. Their joy was short-lived, however, as the following season they were relegated although this time they achieved promotion at the first time of asking. In the next two seasons Drogheda battled bravely against relegation surviving by one point and on goal difference in the respective seasons. However, they were relegated for the third time in the 1993-94 season.

Drogheda United were very much becoming a yo-yo club, swapping divisions every season between the 1993-94 and 2000-01 seasons when in 2000-01 they finished a disappointing ninth in the ten-team First Division. In 2002/03 they were promoted to the Premier Division under Harry McCue and have been there ever since.

2003-2008; (Paul Doolin)[edit]

In 2003, Harry McCue was sacked as manager of Drogheda United. Paul Doolin took over and upped the standard of training and fitness levels. However, he found that to compete with the big clubs like Bohemians and Shelbourne he would need a professional squad. In 2004, he made the squad fully professional and gave part-time players the option to turn professional or leave the club. The change to full-time saw the club's fortunes drastically improve. They won their first FAI Cup in 2005, beating Cork City in the final and won back-to-back Setanta Cups in 2006 and 2007.

They also qualified for the UEFA Cup for the 2006-2007 season thanks to their 2005 FAI Cup success. This time they fared better than in their first foray into Europe as they defeated HJK Helsinki 4-2 on aggregate in the First Qualifying Round and were just eliminated 11-10 in an epic penalty shoot-out in the next round against I.K. Start of Norway. They were also in the UEFA Cup Qualifying stages for the 2007-2008 campaign, losing to Helsingborgs IF in the second round.

United finally won the League Of Ireland for the first time in 2007, beating Cork City 2-1 at United Park with three games to go. Guy Bates scored the winning goal for Drogheda that day, shooting himself into Drogs folklore. Drogheda were dominant in the league, only losing three games and winning the title by seven points.

The league win meant that Drogheda would be playing in the Champions League Qualifiers for the first time in their history in the 2008-09 season. They succeeded in their first qualifier against FC Levadia Tallinn, beating them 3-1 on aggregate. They played the Second Qualifying Round against Dynamo Kiev which, they ended up losing 4-3 on aggregate. In the first a late goal for Kiev secured a 2-1 victory at Dalymount Park. In the second game, an early Kiev goal after 13 minutes seemed to have finished the tie, but remarkably, on 41 minutes, Drogheda were awarded a penalty. Shane Robinson stepped up and slotted home the spot-kick. Drogheda then worked tirelessly trying to get the second goal, but they gave away a penalty on 72 minutes, which was converted. 2-1 down, it seemed the tie was over now. Amazingly however, Graham Gartland scored an 88th minute goal to make it 2-2. Adam Hughes got a further chance when he had an open goal, but miskicked the ball and it flew over the bar. Then, Shane Robinson hit a shot from a tight angle which hit the post. Despite Drogheda's late rally, they were knocked out by Dynamo Kiev.

2008 (Examinership)[edit]

Darragh Hanaphy in action for Drogheda United April 2011
Darragh Hanaphy in action for Drogheda United, April 2011

In October 2008 Drogheda went into examinership, like Cork City, after failing to pay back a €500,000 loan to the Revenue Commissioners and €10,000 rent to Bohemians for their use of Dalymount Park in their Champions League Qualifiers.[2] Their plans for a new €35m stadium fell through and in November 2008 they were deduced 10 points. After successfully raising money through various fund raisers arranged by the supporters, the club escaped extinction in January 2009 when a judge ruled in Drogheda's favour to the delight of the teary eyed Chairman Vincent Hoey.

2009-2011[edit]

In the 2009 season Drogheda got off to a difficult start. Due to bankruptcy, the club went part-time and lost their entire league-winning squad, and manager, Paul Doolin, who took over Cork City. Former Cork and Longford boss Alan Mathews took over.[3] Mathews had to sign a side of semi-pros and free agents. Drogheda were in the bottom half of the table for the whole season, despite some shock wins. On 10 November 2009 they beat Bray Wanderers 2-0 in a relegation play-off.

The 2010 season was disastrous on and off the pitch. Drogheda started terribly and after a 6-0 loss at the hands of Sligo on May 15, Alan Mathews quit his managerial post. The club appointed youth team coach and Drogheda native Darius Kierans as manager even though he had yet to complete his Europa A license which is an FAI requirement for league managers. After much objection from the FAI[4] Kierans became Director of Football and the club appointed Paul Lumsden as Interim Manager. Lumsden took the team for only one game[5] before resigning.[6] Brian Donnelly[7] was then appointed as the second Interim Manager of the season but he too resigned in September. On 27 September, the club announced the imminent arrival as manager of another former player – Bobby Browne.[8] Despite finishing rock-bottom of the table with only four wins and nine draws (a total of 21 points) in 2010 and being relegated, Drogheda United were reprieved after the extinction of Sporting Fingal in February 2011[9] Browne resigned on the 26th February 2011.

2011-2013; (Mick Cooke)[edit]

Mick Cooke, manager of Monaghan took over as manager on 27 February 2011, becoming the sixth Drogheda manager in nine months.[10] Cooke appointed former Drogs goalkeeper, Robbie Horgan as his assistant, and inherited the players who had been signed by Bobby Browne to play in the First Division so hopes weren't high. After an awful start, Drogheda beat local rivals Dundalk 2-1 in Oriel Park. The win turned their season around and despite operating on the lowest playing budget in the league, Drogheda managed to avoid relegation. Shortly after, Cooke put pen to paper on a new three-year deal with the club.

In 2012, Cooke and Horgan set about building on the foundations of the previous season. Cooke finally had his own team of players and despite having less than a tenth of the budget that the club had in the glory days under Paul Doolin, Drogheda have had their best season by far since then. Between 1 June and 4 August, Drogheda went on an eight-game winning run in the league and cup - the longest winning run in the club's history. On September 23, 2012, Drogheda won the final of the EA Sports Cup beating Shamrock Rovers 3-1[11] - their first trophy since 2007. The icing on the cake came on 19 October when Drogheda beat the newly crowned 2012 League Champions Sligo Rovers 2-1 at United Park through a first half Alan McNally header and 88th minute Brian Gannon chip to qualify for the Europa League. The season ended on another high note when Drogheda United beat Bohemians 4-1 in Dalymount Park in the final game of the 2012 Airtricity League to secure the runners-up position. Striker Tiarnán Mulvenna was the hero of the evening scoring a hat-trick and defence anchor Alan McNally completed the scoreline with a header to add to his fine tally for the season.

The Claret & Blue Club[edit]

In response to the economic difficulties facing the country, a group of supporters established The Claret & Blue Club in June 2009 with the aim of providing a steady income stream to Drogheda United FC. Supporters who join the Claret & Blue Club donate at least €5 per week to the club, and in return, they receive a membership card entitling them to discounts of up to 10% in a range of local businesses, including restaurants, tile shops, shoe shops and many more. Each member is also entered in a monthly prize draw, with a top prize every month of a sun holiday courtesy of Panorama Holidays. Other prizes include hotel vouchers, tickets to Irish World Cup qualifier games, betting vouchers etc. Publicity on the Derek Mooney Show on RTÉ Radio one and full-page ads in the Drogheda Independent and Drogheda People resulted in a surge of membership, and after only four weeks of existence, the Claret & Blue Club was in a position to bring in over €35,000 to the club annually, with membership figures rising daily. It was hoped that the Claret & Blue Club will take full ownership of the club in 2010 and run the club similar to the way Shamrock Rovers is run by the Shamrock Rovers Members Club. However the target of 500 members was not reached and membership levels settled at just over half that target.

Share Issue[edit]

In January 2011, a Claret and Blue Club steering committee announced new plans for a share issue. It was hoped that 200 shares would be sold at €1000 each and that this new revenue would provide stability for 2011-12 and allow the club to finally become a supporter-owned community club.[12] In early 2012 Drogheda United became a member's owned and run club when a new company Drogheda Utd FC Limited was formed consisting of members who paid €1000 each into the company.

Emblem[edit]

Drogheda coat of arms.

The crest of Drogheda United is an adaptation of the town arms of Drogheda, which feature the heraldic symbols of a star and crescent over a shield depicting St. Lawrence's Gate, three lions and a ship. The three lions passant represent the three English lions - as Drogheda lay within the Pale and was a garrison town - and the ship represents the town's port.[13]

The club crest focuses on the star and crescent element of the town arms of Drogheda, and are the royal seal of King John, who gave the town its charter.[13] In commemoration of the Ottoman aid, Drogheda added the Ottoman crescent and star to its coat of arms. Ottoman Turkish Sultan Abdülmecid I during the Great Famine. The crest is similar to that of Portsmouth F.C. in England, given by King Richard I of England. His own crest was the source of the star and crescent symbols, which he had taken from the Byzantine Emperor's standard of Governor Isaac Komnenos after capturing Cyprus.

Drogheda United shares the same symbols and colours as Trabzonspor, in Turkey - both recently declared to be brother teams.[14][15]

European record[edit]

Record by competition[edit]

UEFA Champions League:

Appearances Played Won Drawn Lost For Against
1 4 2 1 1 6 5

UEFA Cup:

Appearances Played Won Drawn Lost For Against
3 10 3 3 4 10 22

Overall:

Appearances Played Won Drawn Lost For Against
4 14 5 4 5 16 27

Past opponents[edit]

Season Competition Round Club 1st leg 2nd leg Aggregate
1983–84 UEFA Cup First round England Tottenham Hotspur F.C. 0–6 0–8 0–14
2006–07 UEFA Cup First qualifying round Finland HJK Helsinki 1–1 3–1 4–2 (aet)
Second qualifying round Norway I.K. Start 0–1 1–0 1–1 (10–11 p)
2007–08 UEFA Cup First qualifying round San Marino A.C. Libertas 1–1 3–0 4–1
Second qualifying round Sweden Helsingborgs 1–1 0–3 1–4
2008–09 UEFA Champions League First qualifying round Estonia FC Levadia Tallinn 2–1 1–0 3–1
Second qualifying round Ukraine FC Dynamo Kyiv 1–2 2–2 3–4
2013–14 UEFA Europa League First qualifying round Sweden Malmö FF 0–0 0–2 0–2

Graham Gartland has the most appearances for the club in European competitions having appeared a record 12 (twelve) times in Drogheda's colours in UEFA competitions. He also is tied with Eamon Zayed, on 3 (three) goals, as Drogheda United's leading goalscorer(s) in UEFA competitions.[16]

Also worth noting is that another former Drogheda player Ollie Cahill holds the joint record with Owen Heary for the most appearances in European competition for an Irish domestic player (41). He scored against Olimpija Ljubljana in August 2003[17] and again for Drogheda against Levadia Tallinn on the 16th of July 2008 in a Champions League qualifier .[18]

Players[edit]

First-team squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Republic of Ireland GK David Ryan
2 Republic of Ireland DF Mick Daly
3 Republic of Ireland DF Shane Grimes
4 Republic of Ireland DF Paul Andrews
5 Republic of Ireland DF Alan McNally
6 Republic of Ireland MF Paul Crowley
7 Republic of Ireland MF Cathal Brady
8 Republic of Ireland MF Gavan Holohan
9 Republic of Ireland FW Philip Hughes
10 Republic of Ireland FW Gary O'Neill
11 Republic of Ireland MF Gavin Brennan
No. Position Player
12 Republic of Ireland DF Ciarán McGuigan
13 Republic of Ireland MF Stephen Maher
14 Republic of Ireland FW Carl Walshe
15 Republic of Ireland DF Austin McCann
16 Republic of Ireland GK Micheál Schlingermann
17 Republic of Ireland MF Seán O'Connor
18 Republic of Ireland MF Daire Doyle
19 Republic of Ireland FW Declan O'Brien
20 Republic of Ireland MF Dominic Mahon
24 Republic of Ireland FW Dale Harding
40 Republic of Ireland GK Dylan Connolly

Notable former players[edit]

Players in bold still active

Club Officials[edit]

As of 14 April 2014[19]

Drogheda United Football Club[edit]

Position Name Nationality
Club President Vincent Hoey  Irish
Chairman Jim Agnew  Irish
Secretary Nicola Carpenter  Irish
Finance Officer Martin Hodgins  Irish
Media Officer Roisin Phillips  Irish
FAI Delegate Noel Heeney  Irish

Coaching and Medical Staff[edit]

Position Name Nationality
Manager Darius Kierans  Irish
Assistant Manager Neale Fenn  Irish
Goalkeeping Coach Dermot O'Neill  Irish
Fitness Coach Jonny McGailey  Irish
Physio Danny Miller  Irish
Kitman Gary Harrison  Irish
Club Doctor Conor Kelly  Irish
Groundsman Matt Kavanagh  Irish

Managerial history[edit]

Dates Name Honours
1963–64 Republic of Ireland Peter Farrell
1964–65 Republic of Ireland Mick Lynch
1965–66 Republic of Ireland Alf Girvan
1966-67 Republic of Ireland Theo Dunne
1967-69 Republic of Ireland Arthur Fitzsimons / Theo Dunne
1969 Republic of Ireland Theo Dunne
1969–73 Republic of Ireland Mick Meagan
1973–75 Republic of Ireland John Cowan
1975–78 Northern Ireland Jimmy McAlinden
1978–79 Republic of Ireland Willie Roche
1979–80 Republic of Ireland Shay Noonan
1980–82 Republic of Ireland Ray Treacy
1982–85 Republic of Ireland Tony Macken League of Ireland Cup - 1983/84
1985–86 Republic of Ireland Tony Reilly
1986 Republic of Ireland Mick Lawlor
1987 Republic of Ireland Ciaran Maher
1987–88 Republic of Ireland Arthur Brady
1988–89 Republic of Ireland Synan Braddish
1989–90 Republic of Ireland Synan Braddish / Liam Brien
1990–92 Republic of Ireland Liam Brien
1992–93 Republic of Ireland Pat Devlin
1993–96 Republic of Ireland Jim McLaughlin
1996–97 Republic of Ireland Anto Whelan
1997–99 Republic of Ireland Martin Lawlor
1999–00 England Eddie May
2000–03 Republic of Ireland Harry McCue
2003–08 Republic of Ireland Paul Doolin FAI Cup- 2005; Setanta Cup - 2006, 2007; League of Ireland- 2007
Feb 1, 2009–May 17, 2010 Republic of Ireland Alan Mathews
May 18, 2010–June 4, 2010 Republic of Ireland Darius Kierans (interim)
June 5, 2010–July 12, 2010 Republic of Ireland Darius Kierans
2010 Republic of Ireland Paul Lumsden
July 13, 2010–Sept 27, 2010 Republic of Ireland Brian Donnelly
Sept 30, 2010–Feb 26, 2011 Republic of Ireland Bobby Browne
Feb 27, 2011–Oct 26, 2013 Republic of Ireland Mick Cooke League of Ireland Cup - 2012
Nov 14, 2013–Jun 17,2014 Republic of Ireland Robbie Horgan
June 21, 2014– Republic of Ireland Darius Kierans (interim)

Honours[edit]

Leagues[edit]

Major Cup Competitions[edit]

Other Cup Competitions[edit]

Records[edit]

Most goals scored for Drogheda United F.C.[edit]

(Players in bold still playing for Drogheda)

# Name Career Goals
1 Republic of Ireland Declan O'Brien 2002-08, 2012- 108
2 Republic of Ireland Gel Martin 1972-86, 1987–89 52
3 Republic of Ireland Damien Byrne 1974-83 47
4 Republic of Ireland Jerome Clarke 1968-80 45
5 Republic of Ireland Cathal Muckian 1972-78 40
6 Republic of Ireland Andy Myler 2002-04 33
7 Republic of Ireland Paddy Dillon 198?-86 30
8 Republic of Ireland Barry O'Connor 1992-96 29
9 Republic of Ireland Denis Stephens 1973-7? 27
Republic of Ireland Gerry Brammeld 1973-79 (or 1980) 27
11 Republic of Ireland Martin Murray 1982-86 25

Other records[edit]

Most points in a season 68: 2007
Largest league win 7–1: vs Finn Harps, 24 April 1977
Heaviest league defeat 1–8: vs Cork Hibernians, 30 January 1972
Highest Goalscorer Declan O'Brien: 108, 2002–08, 2012-
Most League goals Declan O'Brien: 88, 2002–08,2012-
Most goals in a season Cathal Muckian: 21, 1977-78

Supporters Player of the Year Award[edit]

Season Winner
2013
2012

lalign="left"|Republic of Ireland Gavin Brennan

2011 Republic of Ireland Lee Lynch
2010 Republic of Ireland Mick Daly
2009 Republic of Ireland James Chambers
2008 Republic of Ireland Graham Gartland
2007 Republic of Ireland Brian Shelley
2006 Republic of Ireland Brian Shelley

Supporters and rivalries[edit]

Drogs is a nickname for supporters of the club. When the name Drogs started to appear in two newspapers in the late 1990s, The Sun and the Drogheda Leader, the club wrote to the Drogheda Leader Newspaper demanding that the name not be used adding that it was not used in the stadium by the fans. The newspaper argued that it had not invented the name and that the fans in the shed side of the stadium often sing a song called Super Drogs. The club considered the name was degrading and was purely a Drogheda Leader nickname not used by the supporters. In recent years the club officially embraced the nickname.

The most vocal supporters stand on "the shed side" of United Park. Many Drogs attend every home match while a smaller group travel around the country to support the team at away matches. They sing football/Drogheda United chants, wear club colours (claret and blue), wave banners and flags and generally try to help lift the team and demonstrate fervent support. One section of their supporters are known as 'F45U' (Famous 45 Ultras.)

Drogheda United Supporters Club (DUSC) was formed more than two years ago. Its main aim is to promote Drogheda United F.C. throughout the community. The supporters club works hand-in-hand with the football club in various ways including contributing to the match day programme, organising fund raising nights like quizzes and race nights and by organising buses to away matches.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]