Drogheda United F.C.

Drogheda United Football Club (Irish: Cumann Peile Dhroichead Átha Aontaithe) is an Irish association football club based in Drogheda, County Louth playing in the League of Ireland Premier Division. They play their home matches at Head In The Game Park.

Drogheda United
Drogheda United FC.svg
Full nameDrogheda United Football Club
Nickname(s)The Drogs, Claret and Blue Army, The Super Drogs
Founded1919 (as Drogheda United)[1]
GroundHead In The Game Park, Drogheda, County Louth
OwnerSupporter owned
ChairmanConor Hoey
ManagerKevin Doherty
LeagueLeague of Ireland Premier Division
20217th of 10
WebsiteClub website
Current season

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.

As of 2021, the club competes in the League of Ireland Premier Division, having been automatically promoted as winners of the 2020 League of Ireland First Division.


1919–1975: Early yearsEdit

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 in a replay after the first match ended 00..


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 second highest ever league placing of second-place (they later won the league in 2007) 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 were there until the 2016 season, as they got relegated in 2015, coming in twelfth place.

2003–2008: Paul DoolinEdit

In 2003, 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 2006–07 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 IK Start of Norway. They were also in the UEFA Cup Qualifying stages for the 2007–08 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 Levadia Tallinn, beating them 3–1 on aggregate. They played the Second Qualifying Round against Dynamo Kyiv which, they ended up losing 4–3 on aggregate. In the first a late goal for Kyiv secured a 2–1 victory at Dalymount Park. In the second game, an early Kyiv 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 Kyiv.

2008 (Examinership)Edit

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 deducted 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.


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 Rovers on 15 May, 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 licence which is an FAI requirement for league managers. After much objection from the FAI, Kierans became Director of Football and the club appointed Paul Lumsden as Interim Manager.[4] Lumsden took the team for only one game before resigning.[5][6] Brian Donnelly was then appointed as the second Interim Manager of the season but he too resigned in September.[7] 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]

2011–2013: Mick CookeEdit

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 23 September 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.

In 2013, Drogheda reached three finals and despite failing to add to their silverware, reflected the club's rise under Cooke. They were beaten 7–1 in the Setanta Cup final by Shamrock Rovers and 2–0 in the League Cup final by the same opponent. They also reached their first FAI Cup final since winning the competition in 2005, narrowly losing out on a 3-2 thriller against Sligo Rovers. In the Europa League qualifying rounds that season, the club were drawn against Swedish giants Malmö and only lost by a single goal over two legs after a battling performance. Despite this success, Mick Cooke left the club by mutual consent at the end of the season.


In November 2015 Drogheda appointed former UCD manager Peter Mahon as manager of the club. John Gill took over as assistant manager with Mark Kinsella ex Irish international remaining part of the coaching staff.[12]

In 2015, Drogheda were relegated after finishing bottom of the league. The following season they finished second in the First Division, achieving promotion through the play-offs, before being relegated again after another 12th-place finish in 2017. In 2018, Tim Clancy was appointed as manager after the departure of Mahon.

Drogheda United pushed for promotion to the top flight for the next three years which they spent in the League Of Ireland First Division . After finishing 2nd in 2019 they made it to the promotion relegation play off against Finn Harps in which there were two legs. Drogheda won the first leg 1-0 after Chris Lyons scored late, but Harps came back to win the second leg 2–0 at home, which meant heartbreak for the Drogs. In 2020 the Claret and Blue Army set off again, with a rejuvenated squad and a clean slate. They won 2 of their 3 opening league games before the league was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The league was restarted in July 2020 and the Drogs marched like clockwork towards the title. The title race came down to the final day of the season on 27 October 2020, when they travelled to Cabinteely F.C. at the Stradbrook. A win would see them crowned champions, but a loss or a draw gave Bray Wanderers the chance to win it. Two second half goals from James Brown and Luke Heeney sealed the result for the Drogs, who lifted the trophy on a historic night which granted them a place in the 2021 League Of Ireland Premier Division.[13]

The Claret & Blue ClubEdit

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 IssueEdit

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.[14] 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 €1,000 each into the company.


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 – as Drogheda lay within the Pale and was a besieged garrison town – and the ship represents the town's port.[15]

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.[15] The crest is similar to that of Portsmouth in England, given by King Richard I of England. Drogheda historians can trace the star and crescent back to 1210 when the British governor of Ireland, King John Lackland, granted the town its first charter. [16]

They share the same club colours as Trabzonspor, in Turkey – and in 2011 the two sides became sister clubs.[17][18]

Supporters and rivalriesEdit

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. Occasionally one of the lads would buy a burger and chips if they were hungry. 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.[19]

Drogheda United's main rivalry is with their neighbour club Dundalk FC, with whom they contest the Louth Derby. The club's home grounds lie no more than 35 km apart, and fans regularly travel in their numbers to witness the encounter. The derby had not been played in many years due to the clubs being in different divisions, however with Dundalk's promotion to the Premier Division for the 2009 season, the derby has been a regular occurrence up to Drogheda's relegation in 2017. Red cards are often produced, with four in the sides last 4 meetings. Fans of the respective clubs despise each other and it makes for one of the biggest rivalries in the country. Many United fans consider the Lilywhites as their main rivals, although the club also has smaller rivalries with clubs they have faced in the First Division; Shelbourne and Longford Town.


European recordEdit


Competition Matches W D L GF GA
UEFA Champions League
UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League


Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Aggregate
1983–84 UEFA Cup 1R   Tottenham Hotspur 0–6 0–8 0–14
2006–07 UEFA Cup 1QR   HJK 3–1 (a.e.t.) 1–1 4–2
2QR   Start 1–0 0–1 1–1 (10–11 p)
2007–08 UEFA Cup 1QR   Libertas 1–1 3–0 4–1
2QR   Helsingborgs 1–1 0–3 1–4
2008–09 UEFA Champions League 1QR   Levadia Tallinn 2–1 1–0 3–1
2QR   Dynamo Kyiv 1–2 2–2 3–4
2013–14 UEFA Europa League 1QR   Malmö 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.[20]

Finnish international Markus Halsti has played against Drogheda in four matches, lining out with both HJK and Malmö.

Also worth noting is that another former Drogheda player Gary Rogers holds the record for most appearances in European competition for an Irish domestic player (54).[21]


Most League goalsEdit

(Players in bold still playing for Drogheda)

(Last update: 6 October 2021, 18:07 UTC)

# Name Career Goals
1   Declan O'Brien 2002–08, 2012–14 88
2   Gel Martin 1972–86, 1987–89 52
3   Mark Doyle 2016– 47
  Damien Byrne 1974–83 47
5   Jerome Clarke 1968–80 45
6   Cathal Muckian 1972–78 40
7   Chris Lyons 2018– 34
8   Andy Myler 2002–04 33
9   Paddy Dillon 198?–86 30
10   Barry O'Connor 1992–96 29
11   Denis Stephens 1973–77 27

Other recordsEdit

Most points in a season 68: 2007
Largest league win 8-1: vs Wexford F.C., 16 March 2018
Heaviest league defeat 1–8: vs Cork Hibernians, 30 January 1972
Highest Goalscorer Declan O'Brien: 108, 2002–08, 2012–14
Most League goals Declan O'Brien: 88, 2002–08, 2012–14
Most goals in a season Cathal Muckian: 21, 1977–78


First-team squadEdit

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   IRL Colin McCabe
2 DF   IRL James Brown (captain)
3 DF   IRL Conor Kane
5 DF   IRL Daniel O'Reilly
6 DF   IRL Hugh Douglas
7 MF   IRL Darragh Markey
8 MF   IRL Gary Deegan
9 FW   IRL Chris Lyons
12 GK   IRL Aaron Davis
13 DF   IRL Sam O'Brien
14 FW   IRL Mark Doyle
15 DF   IRL Mohammed Boudiaf
17 MF   IRL Ronan Murray
18 MF   IRL Charles Mutawe
No. Pos. Nation Player
19 MF   IRL Killian Phillips
20 FW   IRL Jordan Adeyemo
21 FW   IRL Luke Heeney
22 DF   IRL James Clarke
23 GK   IRL David Odumosu
24 DF   IRL Joe Redmond
25 FW   MSR Kaleem Simon
31 FW   IRL Ahu Obhakhan
41 DF   IRL Dane Massey
45 MF   IRL Mark Hughes
TBC FW   IRL Adam Foley
TBC MF   IRL Dylan Grimes
TBC MF   IRL Dayle Rooney

Notable former playersEdit

Players in bold still active


Technical staffEdit

Position Staff
Director of Football Vacant
Head Coach Kevin Doherty
Assistant Coach Daire Doyle
Doctor Conor Kelly
Groundsman Matt Kavanagh
Kitman Brendan Penrose / Barry Sanfey


Position Staff
Honorary President Vincent Hoey
Chairman Conor Hoey
Secretary Stanley Boyd
Finance officer Martin Hodgins
Media officer Gerard Grimes
Delegate Jim McArdel

Managerial historyEdit

Dates Name Honours
1963–64   Peter Farrell
1964–65   Mick Lynch
1965–66   Alf Girvan
1966–67   Theo Dunne
1967–69   Arthur Fitzsimons / Theo Dunne
1969   Theo Dunne
1969–73   Mick Meagan
1973–75   John Cowan
1975–78   Jimmy McAlinden
1978–79   Willie Roche
1979–80   Shay Noonan
1980–82   Ray Treacy
1982–85   Tony Macken League of Ireland Cup – 1983–84
1985–86   Tony Reilly
1986   Mick Lawlor
1987   Ciaran Maher
1987–88   Arthur Brady
1988–89   Synan Braddish League of Ireland First Division – 1988-89
1989–90   Synan Braddish / Liam Brien
1990–92   Liam Brien League of Ireland First Division – 1990–91; League Of Ireland First Division Shield – 1990-91
1992–93   Pat Devlin
1993–96   Jim McLaughlin
1996–97   Anto Whelan
1997–99   Martin Lawlor League of Ireland First Division – 1998-99
1999–00   Eddie May
2000–03   Harry McCue League of Ireland First Division – 2001-02
2003–08   Paul Doolin FAI Cup- 2005; Setanta Cup – 2006, 2007; League of Ireland- 2007
2009-10   Alan Mathews
2010   Darius Kierans (interim)
2010   Darius Kierans
2010   Paul Lumsden
2010   Brian Donnelly
2010-11   Bobby Browne
2011-13   Mick Cooke League of Ireland Cup2012
2013-14   Robbie Horgan
2014   Darius Kierans (interim)
2014   Damien Richardson
2014-15   Johnny McDonnell
2015   Mark Kinsella
2015-17   Pete Mahon
2018-21   Tim Clancy League of Ireland First Division2020
2021-   Kevin Doherty

Supporters Player of the Year AwardEdit

Season Winner
2020   Mark Doyle
2019   Chris Lyons
2018   Seán Brennan
2014   Gavan Holohan
2013   Mick Daly
2012   Gavin Brennan
2011   Lee Lynch
2010   Mick Daly
2009   James Chambers
2008   Graham Gartland
2007   Brian Shelley
2006   Brian Shelley


  1. ^ "Local soccer clubs merge to form new Drogheda United". Drogheda Independent. 1975. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  2. ^ "Drogs need €500,000 to avoid extinction". Irish Independent. 3 December 2012. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Mathews appointed Drogheda boss". irishtimes.com.
  4. ^ "Manager chaos may see Drogs' licence revoked". Irish Independent. 30 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Valuable three points for Drogheda". breakingnews.ie. 2 July 2010.
  6. ^ "Dundalk 2-1 Drogheda United". RTE.ie. 5 July 2010. Archived from the original on 13 November 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Donnelly named as Drogheda manager - Soccer, Sport - Drogheda-Indepen…". drogheda-independent.ie. 29 July 2012. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Drogheda United Football Club - Welcome". www.droghedaunited.ie. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  9. ^ "Drogheda back in the Premier Division". RTÉ News. 14 February 2011. Archived from the original on 15 February 2011.
  10. ^ "Drogheda turn to Cooke as Browne leaves the club". irishtimes.com.
  11. ^ "Shamrock Rovers 1–3 Drogheda United". RTÉ News. 22 September 2012.
  12. ^ "Drogheda United announce Pete Mahon as new manager - Independent.ie". independent.ie.
  13. ^ "Drogheda seal promotion to Premier Division". The 42. 27 October 2020. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  14. ^ "Drogheda United Football Club - Welcome". www.droghedaunited.ie. Archived from the original on 5 July 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
  15. ^ a b "Heraldry of the world - Category:Irish municipalities". www.ngw.nl.
  16. ^ Murray, Ken. "President tells Turks an anecdote of myth not fact". The Irish Times. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Drogheda United Football Club - Welcome". www.droghedaunited.ie. Archived from the original on 4 October 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  18. ^ "Trabzonspor 2010/2011 season {R}". bigsoccer.com.
  19. ^ Supporters Club Archived 23 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Drogheda United Official Website, 2007. Retrieved on 2 August 2007.
  20. ^ uefa.com. "Drogheda – UEFA.com". Uefa.com.
  21. ^ [1]

External linksEdit