With the Ultras in full voice and some flares to boot, proclaiming that the boys are back in town, the Drogs are on the go again. There were probably not as many Ultras as usual but that will change come the season proper. Monday evening's pre-season Leinster Senior Cup clash with Bohemians Under 20s was a warm up for the real thing.
A season ticket, from a Christmas stocking, has me rearing and ready to go. I don't intend to miss any of the eighteen games at Weaver Park. I also hope to watch two away games against Sligo with my friend Alfie. The senior citizen free travel pass makes that sort of thing much less expensive. With luck and Paddy's freedom to travel not circumscribed by work or other commitments, we might even make it to a few of the Dublin based fixtures. Earlier intentions of train hopping to Cork for a brace of away games were jettisoned due to Cork having been relegated to the first division last season.
While not a packed stadium for the Bohs clash, that hardly reflects a curb your enthusiasm perspective at play. Last week's turn out for Underdrogs was a statement of fan intent. Cometh the League cometh the fans.
Paddy was unable to make Monday night's match so I was Home Alone. I hadn't owned a football hat with a pom pom attached to it from the days when I was a very young Manchester City supporter. Until now, that is - another gift from the Christmas stocking. Normally, I would wear the Liverpool stuff but in Drogheda do what the Droghedians do. So in full colours, hip flask deep in pocket, I made my way across town on foot.
While some configuration of players from Dalymount Park have won the competition thirty three times, Monday was not their night with the Drogs emerging as 3-1 winners after a less than hard fought game. The Bohs were simply not on their game while Drogheda looked more at ease and composed. The last time I saw the Bohs, their senior side slumped to a cup final defeat against St Pat's, where they too failed to lift their game.
For the home side it was a chance to showcase four of their new signings from the start with an additional two being given a run out later on as substitutes. Jack Keaney and Frantz Pierrot, who turned out for last week's discussion in the TLT, featured in the starting line up. Two goals in three minutes halfway through the first half gave Drogheda a commanding lead which they never looked like relinquishing. Pierrot looks an exciting player, not easy to bully off the ball, scoring one from the penalty spot and hitting the post with another effort.
Drogs, seemingly overconfident eased up on the pedal to the metal after the break. With captain Gary Deegan being substituted there was a feeling that without his leadership the side is a bit rudderless. If fans were somewhat deflated by the pedestrian second half performance they soon had something to cheer about when the goal of the evening was stuck home by Matthew O’Brien, a rasping shot from outside the box.
A good beginning, let's hope they started as they mean to go on.
|⏩Follow on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre.