Preview: Wexford Youths v Drogheda United

The relegation / promotion play off first leg between Wexford Youth’s and Drogheda United in on tonight in FerryCarrig Park in Wexford.

Wexford are on a bad run of form into the fixture with Drogheda being quite the opposite as they finished their league campaign in style and defeated Cobh Ramblers in the play offs.

“Relief is definitely the word that comes to mind,” Drogheda manager Pete Mahon explained Sunday afternoon.

“We made a very nervous start and Cobh were exceptional. We couldn’t get a foothold in the game and then Stephen McGuinness made a fantastic save just before half-time to stop us from going behind in the tie.

“We showed good character after the break to compose ourselves and get the goal that we needed. Even then Cobh didn’t give up and hit the bar but we held on with a little bit of luck.

“I think both clubs deserve credit for the quality that was on show over the course of the two games but we know we can play so much better than we did on Friday.”

Wexford Youths stand in the way of a return to the Premier Division for Drogheda after a one year absence and Mahon is anticipating a closely fought tie.

“They’ve finished second from bottom so I think it’s hard to say that they’ve had anything other than a disappointing year. I think the play-offs are a second chance for the Premier Division side but that’s the way the rules are.

“Wexford have quite a big side so we are preparing for a direct approach from them. There’s obviously a lot riding on the game but it’ll be a good indication of where we are at as a football club on the pitch going against a Premier Division side.”

Given what is at stake over the course of the next week, would the Drogheda manager settle for a draw away from home tomorrow night?

“We want the tie to still be alive at United Park on Friday but we won’t be setting up tomorrow to sit back. We might be pushed back at certain stages of the game but our goal tomorrow will be to score and win the game.

“If we play like we have against UCD and the first game against Cobh, I’m confident we’ll get the right result over the two legs.”

Speaking to the Irish Sun Keegan talked about Wexford’s chances: “I had gone to the game expecting to be analysing one team and, after ten minutes, I had to think again.

“I had seen Drogheda play against UCD recently and they were excellent. And if you allow them to play, they can hurt you.

“But from the start Cobh were in their faces and worked like harriers and it worked for them.

“I’d be friendly with Cobh’s opposition analyst Barry O’Sullivan so I have spoken to him about their approach because it worked so well on Friday.

“And I’ve spoken to a few other First Division managers too so I am up to speed, as well as what I saw with my own eyes.

“A few weeks ago I would have known very little about Drogheda because we’ve only played them in cup competitions but I have a better handle on them now.

“I reckon if we played them ten times, you might have three wins apiece and four draws so it will be too tight to call.”

Leagueofireland.ie verdict: Draw

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