Cheeky Aaron McEneff penalty seals win over 10 man Derry City in Tallaght

Dylan Watts fires Rovers in front in the first half despite the best efforts of Ciaron Harkin to close him down.
Dylan Watts fires Rovers in front in the first half despite the best efforts of Ciaron Harkin to close him down.

Shamrock Rovers 2 Derry City 0

AARON McEneff's Panenka-style penalty in front of the new 2,000 seater south stand at Tallaght Stadium sealed victory over 10 man Derry City.

Dylan Watts fired Rovers into the lead on the half hour mark and City goalkeeper, Peter Cherrie did superbly to deny Aaron Greene.

Eoin Toal handled Rovers substitute, Orhan Vojic's strike on 79 minutes and McEneff made no mistake with a cheeky finish from the spot.

Second half substitute, Jamie McDonagh then saw red for a rash challenge on Ronan Finn to end a poor night for the Candy Stripes who look towards the visit of Waterford to Brandywell on Monday night.

Declan Devine made one enforced change from the team which won at home to UCD with ex-Rovers defender, Ally Gilchrist replacing the injured Darren Cole. The game came too soon for new signing, French midfielder, Gianni Seraf following his deadline day capture.

Rovers boss, Stephen Bradley was serving the final game of his two match suspension but named an unchanged from the team which clinched a comeback victory over Waterford at the RSC with McEneff starting against his hometown club.

Playing against a strong wind and in front of a packed 4,522 attendance, Derry had started well but it was McEneff who created the first real chance of the game on eight minutes with a terrific defence-splitting, reverse pass into the path of Aaron Green. The Rovers striker turned Eoin Toal 25 yards from goal and made his way into the penalty box but his low strike was saved superbly by Peter Cherrie.

Greene did have the ball in the back of the net two minutes later when Dan Carr raced down the left flank and found his teammate at the back post who side-footed past Cherrie but he had strayed offside.

Jack Byrne tried his luck from 25 yards on the half volley and his blistering strike deflected narrowly over the crossbar for a Rovers corner on 23 minutes.

The pressure was building and Derry failed to deal with Brandon Kavanagh's cross from the left. Ciaron Harkin's mis-kicked clearance then fell to Watts who volleyed into the corner of the net with his right boot to give the home side the lead on the half hour mark.

That goal gave Rovers plenty of confidence and they began to control proceedings with McEneff, Byrne and Watts pulling the strings in midfield.

Derry boss, Devine will have been pleased to get into the break with just the single goal deficit as Rovers gained momentum.

However, it was an encouraging first half display from the visitors who showed lots of energy and closed their hosts down at every opportunity.

Derry made one change at the interval with Jamie McDonagh replacing Josh Kerr at right-back.

The Candy Stripes were fortunate to escape a neat move by Rovers as Boyle crossed from the right and it was Boyle crossed, laid back into the path of Watts by Greene but the midfield man fired high and wide.

Eoghan Stokes, who netted on his debut last weekend, tried his luck from distance and his wind-assisted strike had Alan Mannus beaten but it went narrowly wide.

Rovers hit on the break and Byrne played a superb ball over the top into the path of Kavanagh who got in behind McDonagh and his strike on the volley was parried behind by Cherrie.

Rovers sub, Orhan Vojic was played clean through on goal with the Derry defence caught napping and his strike hit the outstretched hand of Toal and referee, Rob Hennessy pointed to the spot.

Up stepped last season's top scorer for Derry, McEneff who sent his Panenka-style penalty into the net - the first goal into the south stand end to double Rovers' lead with just 11 minutes to go.

It went from bad to worse for Derry with five minutes left on the clock as McDonagh was shown a straight red for a reckless tackle on Ronan Finn who was racing into the penalty area.

In the end Rovers were good value for the win and Devine will have to lift his side for a difficult test against Waterford.

Shamrock Rovers: A. Mannus; E. Boyle, L. Grace, R. Lopes, S. Kavanagh; J. Byrne, D. Watts (G. Bolger 61), A. McEneff, D. Carr (T. Clarke 61); R. Finn; A. Greene (O. Vojic 73); Subs Not Used - L. Pohls, J. Coustrain, B. Kavanagh, J. O'Brien.

Derry City: P. Cherrie; J. Kerr (J. McDonagh h-t), E. Toal, A. Gilchrist, P. McClean; E. Stokes, G. Sloggett (G. Bruna 74), C. Harkin, J. Ogedi-Uzokwe (M. McCrudden 60); B. McNamee; D. Parkhouse; Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, S. McNamee, E. Tweed, C. Coll.

Referee: Robert Hennessey