Under strength Cliftonville see off Derry City

Derry City players in the club's 90th anniversary strip.
Derry City players in the club's 90th anniversary strip.
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Derry City 1-2 Cliftonville

CLIFTONVILLE warmed up for their Europa League campaign, with a fantastic victory over Derry City, at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

Goals in each half from Thomas Maguire and Conor McMenamin saw Paddy McLaughlin’s under strength men see off a youth Derry side, despite Barry McNamee’s late consolation goal.

The Brandywell men, who were playing in their special 90th anniversary strip for the first time, gave a full debut to recent signing Darren McCauley, while trialist Marc Ortner also started at right-back.

For the Reds they had new signings Ronan Doherty, Ronan Wilson and Derry loanee Conor McDermott all starting and it was them who took the lead on 12 minutes.

McDermott's right wing cross to the back post was headed back into the six yard box by McMenamin and Maguire was on hand to head home from close range.

Paddy McLaughlin will be delighted by his side’s first half display, with talented midfield pair Doherty and Aaron Harkin pulling the strings and running the show in the opening 45 minutes.

In fact the ex-Institute pair were super throughout, as they enjoyed their return to the Lone Moor Road venue.

While it was a friendly, City boss Declan Devine looked a frustrated figure on the touch line for long periods of the first half and he rung the changes at half-time, with the likes of Barry McNamee, Jamie McDonagh and youngster Patrick Ferry all coming on.

The home side should have levelled on 67 minutes as McDonagh’s teasing right wing cross found an unmarked Ferry, but the young striker headed wide with the goal at his mercy.

Cliftonville went close on 75 minutes as Rory Donnelly played in McMenamin, but the striker’s well hit drive was superbly blocked by City youngster Ronan Boyce, who slotted across to advert the danger.

The Solitude men deservedly added a second on the break two minutes later as Donnelly’s clever pass released McMenamin, who broke the City offside trap, before calmly chipping City substitute keeper Nathan Gartside.

Two minutes from time Derry pulled a goal back as McNamee, broke into the box and coolly guided the ball low into Declan Dunne’s bottom right hand corner.

Derry City: Cherrie (Gartside 47), Ortner, Gilchrist (E McLaughlin 52), Boyce, Coll; (Parke 83) Delap (McDonagh HT), Bruna (Harris 78), Sloggett (O McLaughlin 70), McCauley (Malone 63); Stokes (McNamee HT), Parkhouse (Ferry HT).

Cliftonville: Brush (Dunne 78), Ives, McDermott (Whiteway 83), Gorman, Harkin (Casey 85), Maguire (Rocks 70), Donnelly, Wilson (McConnell 70), Breen (Foster 76), Doherty, McMenamin (McKiernan 85).

Referee: Garvin Taggart