SHAMROCK ROVERS 2 DERRY CITY 0
Derry City’s failure to take advantage of clear-cut scoring opportunities during the opening period cost them dearly in Tallaght Stadium on Friday night.
And while the Pat Fenlon factor did not kick-in until the second half, Peter Hutton’s troops appeared the more likely winners after what had been an enthusiastic first half performance.
Derry poured forward from the first whistle and in the 14th minute Patrick McEleney forced Rovers keeper, Barry Murphy, into a fine save, touching the ball wide at the expense of a corner.
With Derry’s new signings, Stephen Dooley and Lowry, constantly putting the Rovers defence under pressure, the visitors finished the first half very strongly.
In the 40th minute McEleney sent Rory Patterson scampering through and while Murphy advanced from his line to force the striker wide, Patterson’s shot cannoned off the keeper’s legs before Michael Duffy dragged the rebound ball wide of the upright.
Duffy threatened again with a glancing header which again failed to hit the target before he crashed another chance over the crossbar after Barry McNamee had found him in space in the 45th minute.
Rovers clearly upped the ante after the break and in the 61st minute they made the Brandywell club pay dearly for their ineptitude in front of goal.
Kieran Marty Waters broke on the flank and his cross into the danger area was headed back into the box by Dean Kelly into the path of the advancing Ronan Finn and he powerfully headed the ball home from six yards giving Doherty no chance.
And Rovers compounded Derry’s misery in the 70th minute following a throw-in.
Finn moved the ball forward to turn provider when he floated the ball deep into the Derry penalty area which was met by Kelly and he took full advantage with a ‘free’ header at the back post.
Shamrock Rover: Murphy; Madden, McGuinness, Kenna, Byrne; McCabe (D. O’Connor, 85), Robinson, Finn (Bayly, 72), Waters (Sheppard, 65), Brennan; Kelly.
Derry City: Doherty; Ventre, Barry, McBride, Timlin (Jarvis, 79); Dooley, McNamee, Lowry; P. McEleney (Curran, 74), Patterson (Tracey, 82) Duffy.
Referee: D. McKeon (Dublin).