portadown went into this Setanta Cup tie 3-2 down and five players missing, so it was no wonder that the talented men from Louth chalked up a 8-2 final aggregate score.
They dominated from the start and after going two up after 12 minutes it simply ceased being a contest, and a quarter final spot beckoned for the light blues.
It was 4-2 on aggregate for the men from the banks of the Boyne when they took advantage of slack Portadown defending to net a softie in the first minute. The Ports, with three of their regular back four missing failed to cover the far post from an Eric Foley corner and Alan Byrne bulleted home an unstoppable header.
The makeshift defence was caught napping ten minutes later as Paul O’Conor cracked the ball home past the hapless David Miskelly. Drogheda almost made it 6-3 on aggregate ten minutes from the break when another defensive howler gave O’Neill a golden chance, but a super Miskelly save and a Ross Redman header saved the Ports.
The game was killed off on 55 minutes when big Drogheda striker Gavin Brennan scored a great individual goal before David Cassidy headed home number four with his first touch of the ball And then Hand slammed home to make it five.
PORTADOWN- Miskelly, A Burns (Rooney 75), Ramsey, Mouncey, Patton (McCafferty 46), Murray, Lecky, AA Burns, Braniff, Mackle (O’Neill 59), Redman. Subs- McArdle, Rooney, McCafferty, McNeill, Okunaiya, McLellan.
DROGHEDA UNITED- Sava, Hand, Prendergast, O’Conor, Brady (O’Brien 69), R Brennan, O’Neill (Hynes 69), G Brennan, Grimes, Foley (Cassidy 75), Byrne. Subs- Schilingerman, Hynes, Cassidy, Gaynor, O’Brien, Marks.
REFEREE- P McLaughlin.