Two goals in the opening nine minutes cost Limerick dear as their early gift set Derry City on the road to a comfortable 3-0 win in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division at Maginn Park in Buncrana on Sunday evening.
It was a game that could not have started any worse for the Blues – who had travelled up the night before – as they trailed inside the opening minute, Barry McNamee accepting a loose back-pass from Joe Crowe to round Brendan Clarke and score.
Derry doubled their advantage soon after when Aaron McEneff and Conor McDermott combined to find Rory Patterson in space 20-yards out and his low strike took a deflection off Lukas Schubert on the way in.
Clarke then pulled off an impressive save to deny Ronan Curtis a quick third for Derry. As Limerick failed to make any real inroads in an attacking sense, the scoring was rounded off five minutes from time when Ben Doherty took full advantage of another mistake to fire in.
Limerick manager Neil McDonald made one change to the team that was held scoreless by Sligo Rovers last weekend as Stephen Kenny – Man of the Match from the bench in that game – replaced Garbhán Coughlan.
But the Shannonsiders got off to the worst possible start as they fell behind inside 30 seconds, a slack back-pass from Crowe latched onto by McNamee who rounded the ‘keeper and rolled the ball to the empty net.
That lead was doubled on nine minutes when good build-up play from the hosts involving McEneff and McDermott ended with a pull-back to Patterson 20-yards out and his low shot appeared to take a touch off Schubert on the way to the bottom corner.
Derry continued to look dangerous and they were only denied a third by a fantastic fingertip save from Clarke who touched Curtis’ rising shot behind for a corner. Nicky Low then whistled a shot wide from distance after being left in space.
Limerick took time to settle into the game but they did go close on 20 minutes when Lee-J Lynch’s in-swinging free-kick from deep inside the opposing half was met by a towering header from left-back Dave O’Connor whose effort went narrowly past the top corner.
Kenny then attempted to catch out home ‘keeper Ger Doherty with an audacious lob from 35-yards but, while a decent effort, it landed the wrong side of the upright. Clarke got down smartly on the half-hour to hold McEneff’s 25-yard drive, before Kenny’s low strike from distance was gathered by Doherty following a quick break from the visitors.
The second half proved a dull affair, chances wise, with the first real one not arriving until the 68th-minute when Patterson saw his drive from inside the box fly over. However, there was still time for a third goal as a bad mistake by Dean Clarke at the back post left substitute Doherty in on goal and he blasted past Clarke from close range.
On a positive note for Limerick, Under-19 attacking midfielder Colm Walsh-O’Loghlen was introduced for his senior debut on the 90.
Derry City: Ger Doherty ©, Conor McDermott, Darren Cole, Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis, Barry McNamee, Nicky Low (Rory Holden 88), Aaron McEneff, Lukas Schubert (Nathan Boyle 81), Ronan Curtis (Ben Doherty 81), Rory Patterson. Goals: B McNamee (1), L Schubert (9), B Doherty (85). Booked: A McEneff (22), C McDermott (52), D Jarvis (76). Unused Subs: Eric Grimes (GK), Harry Monaghan, Joshua Daniels, Eoin Toal.
Limerick: Brendan Clarke, Dean Clarke, Tony Whitehead, Joe Crowe, Dave O’Connor, Lee-J Lynch, Shane Duggan ©, Stephen Kenny (Colm Walsh-O’Loghlen 90), Henry Cameron (Bastien Héry 58), Chiedozie Ogbene, Rodrigo Tosi (John O’Flynn 58). Booked: S Kenny (78), S Duggan (90). Unused Subs: Freddy Hall (GK), Shane Tracy, Garbhán Coughlan, Killian Brouder.
Referee: Damien MacGraith.
Report Date: Sunday 30 July 2017