Derry City 3-0 Dundalk
A late goal from the returning Liam Kearney sealed a comfortable 3-0 win for Derry City as they defeated Dundalk for the first time in over ten years at the Brandywell on Friday night. Thomas Stewart set the hosts on their way after just four minutes and Tam McManus doubled their lead just shy of the half-hour, before Alex Williams’ dismissal just before the break as good as killed the game. Kearney then headed in a superb third with two minutes remaining to mark his comeback following a leg break.
Sean Connor was left with a selection headache before the game as Chris Turner and Tiarnán Mulvenna were suspended, while Mickey Collins and Simon Kelly were unavailable through injury. And their problems increased when Stewart, a target for the Lilywhites in last year’s transfer window, fired Derry in front after latching on to an inch-perfect through-ball from Barry Molloy and rounding Peter Cherrie before firing to an empty net.
Dundalk improved after that without threatening the home goal, and they were left to rue that when they fell two behind on 29 minutes. Molloy again played a part as he dispossessed Paul McAreavey and supplied Tam McManus, whose quick control on the edge of the area allowed him the opportunity to shoot, and his fine effort found the bottom corner of Cherrie’s net. With the visitors making no inroads in attack, their task was made even harder when Williams was shown a straight red card after the striker protested at being cautioned for a tackle on David Scullion.
Derry then hit the woodwork twice in the space of a minute as Gareth McGlynn headed off the crossbar before Ciarán Martyn saw his header come back off the post. However, despite being a man down, Dundalk – with Darren Mansaram introduced at the interval – started the second half positively, but, again, they never troubled Gerard Doherty, their closest effort coming from a McAreavey free-kick which whistled past the post. Derry always looked in control and they were given the chance to make it 3-0 when Kearney was fouled inside the box by Michael Daly, but Mark Farren’s penalty was brilliantly saved by Cherrie. Scullion and Kearney combined to make it three before the end, though, as the former Cork City winger connected brilliantly to beat Cherrie at his near post.
DERRY CITY FC (4-4-2): Gerard Doherty; Eddie McCallion, Clive Delaney, Peter Hutton, James McClean (Liam Kearney 56); Gareth McGlynn, Barry Molloy, Ciarán Martyn, David Scullion; Tam McManus (Mark Farren 76), Thomas Stewart (Aaron Nash 89).
DUNDALK FC (4-4-2): Peter Cherrie; Michael Coburn (Darren Mansaram HT, Nathan Murphy 92), Thomas Heary, Liam Burns, Kevin McKinlay (Billy Smith 92); Shaun Kelly, Michael Daly, Paul McAreavey, Michael McGowan; Ger Rowe, Alex Williams.
Referee: Tom Connolly (Dublin).