Two goals in the opening seven minutes cancelled out Drogheda’s first-leg lead and the home side needed a man-of-the-match display by their keeper Stephen McGuinness to hold on.
Cobh struck the first blow after all of 38 seconds. When a Drogheda attack broke down Rob Lehane sent a raking 50-yard pass over the home defence and it was all too easy for Conor Ellis as he dribbled into the box before shooting low past a stunned goalkeeper Stephen McGuinness.
That remarkable start became a sensational one in the seventh minute when the home defence failed to deal with a long throw-in and Shane O’Connor turned sharply in the box before rifling past the out-stretched right hand of McGuinness.
The home side needed inspiration and they got it in the 61st minute as they regained control of the tie with a superb goal. Adam Wixted wrong-footed two Cobh defenders to turn the ball on to his left foot before swinging over a deep cross which McCaffrey volleyed past Paul Hunt from an angle.
Cobh pressed but
despite five minutes of stoppage time they couldn’t muster an equaliser. Drogheda now face Wexford Youths over two legs next Monday and Friday for a place in next season’s Premier Division.
McGuinness, Buckley, Gallagher, Farragher, Dunne, Wixted, Purdy, Thornton, Hyland, McCaffrey, Griffin.
Ashe for Griffin (77), Doyle for Griffin (89).
Hunt, Fleming, McCarthy, Mulcahy, Mylod, Lehane, Comerford, Donnellan, O’Connor, Whelan, Ellis.
McNamara for Ellis (75), O’Donnell for Lehane (75), McGreevy for Mylod (89min).