Drogheda United picked up a hard fought 3-2 win over Limerick FC at United Park on Friday night.
Captain Sean Brennan scored a hattrick including two penalties after Darren Murphy had equalised from the penalty spot for Limerick. Adam Foley flicked in a Shane Tracy corner to ensure a nervous ending for the home side.
Tim Clancy’s side started brightly with two quickfire shots as both Jake Hyland and Chris Lyons were denied by a combination of Tomas O’Connor and Jack Brady.
The returning Karl O’Sullivan had Limerick’s first chance as his effort was beaten away by Luca Gratzer and Gallagher cleared before Kieran Hanlon could capitalise on the rebound.
Shortly afterwards, Drogheda took the lead as Sean Brennan pounced on a long ball from goalkeeper Gratzer and the midfielder headed over the onrushing Brady.
Approaching the hour mark, Limerick were awarded a penalty and their third penalty taker of the year, Darren Murphy, converted into the bottom corner to equalise. Drogheda United manager Tim Clancy was sent to the stands for his protests.
However, Drogheda were awarded a penalty just five minutes later due to a high footed challenge by Killian Brouder on Stephen Meaney. Brennan duly converted the penalty.
Less than five minutes later, the Boynesiders were awarded their second penalty of the game as Brouder was adjudged to have fouled Lyons. Brennan completed his hattrick with the resulting spot-kick.
With eight minutes remaining, Adam Foley scored his first senior for Limerick to put the pressure on their play off rivals. However, Limerick were unable to create another chance of note to equalise.
Drogheda leapfrog Limerick into fourth spot ahead of another tough trip for the Super Blues to Cobh Ramblers next weekend.
Drogheda United: Luca Gratzer, James Brown, Conor Kane, Luke Gallagher, Luke McNally, Jake Hyland, Mark Hughes, Sean Brennan, Mark Doyle, Chris Lyons, Stephen Meaney
Limerick FC: Jack Brady, Shaun Kelly, Killian Brouder, Tomas O’Connor, Lee Devitt, Darren Murphy, Shane Tracy, Karl O’Sullivan (Edmond O’Dwyer), Ger Barry (Adam Foley), Kieran Hanlon, Connor Ellis.
Subs not used: Tommy Holland, Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen
Yellow Cards: Karl O’Sullivan (40), Kieran Hanlon (60), Shane Tracy (70), Shaun Kelly (72), Lee Devitt