Derry City 3, Limerick 0
DERRY City strengthened their grip on third place in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division with an emphatic victory over Limerick at Maginn Park.
Barry McNamee sent City on their way to a third league win on the bounce when he capitalised on a poor backpass after just 30 seconds to take his season's tally to nine goals.
And on nine minutes Rory Patterson latched onto Conor McDermott's pass before rifling in his first goal of the season, although Lukas Schubert may have claims on that strike as he stretched to get a touch on the ball before it found the corner of the net.
Second half substitute, Ben Doherty then made certain of the win with his first senior goal as he took advantage of another defensive error.
It was a convincing win and a third clean sheet in succession for Kenny Shiels' troops who move five points clear of fourth placed Shamrock Rovers who they meet in Tallaght Stadium next Friday night.
Ronan Curtis was back in the starting line-up, replacing Josh Daniels while Aaron Barry returned from suspension to replace Eoin Toal in the only changes to the team which won the North West derby against Finn Harps last Monday night.
Limerick meanwhile, made one change to the draw with Sligo Rovers as Stephen Kenny replaced Garbhan Coughlan.
City took the lead after just 30 seconds when Joe Crowe's backpass was intercepted by the alert McNamee who nipped in front of Limerick keeper, Brendan Clarke and slotted into the empty net at the near post.
It was a dream start for the home side and they doubled their advantage on nine minutes when McDermott pulled the ball back to Patterson and his low strike from the edge of the box found the corner of the net.
Brendan Clarke needed to be at his best to parry behind Ronan Curtis' powerful strike on 14 minutes as City went for the jugular.
Limerick had their first attempt at goal soon afterwards but Chiedozie Ogbene's right footed effort went harmlessly wide.
Kenny dispossessed Aaron McEneff in the middle of the park on 23 minutes before attempting an audacious lob but his effort drifted just wide of Doherty's goal.
Clarke gathered McEneff's 25 yard strike cleanly on 28 minutes before Kenny had Limerick's first shot on target on the half hour mark which Doherty saved comfortably.
The impressive Dean Jarvis fizzed in a cross from the left side and Patterson sent his glancing header across goal and wide.
Limerick's Ogbene broke quickly at the start of the second half and raced in behind Cole but the City defender recovered well with a superbly timed tackle inside the penalty area.
Patterson was gifted a glorious chance to add his second on 67 minutes Schubert and McDermott linked up brilliantly on the right flank before the Austrian midfielder picked out Patterson who blasted over the crossbar from 12 yards.
City were quite content to slow the tempo of the game as Limerick offered very little in terms of an attacking threat.
McEneff then drilled a free-kick wide of the target from distance but substitute, Doherty made sure of the three points four minutes after coming off the bench.
Clarke scuffed his clearance from McEneff's cross into the six yard box and Doherty reacted quickest and blasted his shot into the top corner to complete a comprehensive win.
DERRY CITY: Gerard Doherty, Conor McDermott, Darren Cole, Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis, Aaron McEneff, Nicky Low (Rory Holden 87), Lukas Schubert (Nathan Boyle 80), Barry McNamee, Ronan Curtis ( Ben Doherty 80), Rory Patterson; Subs Not Used - E. Grimes, H. Monaghan, J. Daniels, E. Toal.
LIMERICK: Brendan Clarke; Dean Clarke, Tony Whitehead, Joe Crowe, David O'Connor; Chiedozie Ogbene, Shane Duggan, Lee J-Lynch, Henry Cameron (Bastien Hery 57); Stephen Kenny (Colm Walsh O'Loughlin 90); Rodrigo Tosi (John O'Flynn 57); Subs Not Used - F. Hall, S. Tracy, G. Coughlan, K. Brouder.
Referee - Damien MacGraith.