MATCH REPORT: LIMERICK FALL TO DEFEAT IN DERRY
David McDaid scored a hat-trick as Limerick fell to a 6-0 defeat by Derry City at The Brandywell on Friday night to finish the season in seventh place on the Premier Division table.
Derry – after hitting the woodwork through Rory Patterson – took the lead through Michael Rafter’s sixth-minute header following Simon Madden’s cross.
Rory Gaffney went close to an equaliser soon after, before McDaid thought he was in for a second goal only to be thwarted by Tony Whitehead’s wonderful last-ditch challenge.
Before the half-hour, Ryan McBride did well to clear behind after Carel Tiofack almost got in. Then Barry Sheedy’s overhead kick went over the bar as Limerick began to dominate.
But Derry could have been 2-0 in front at the break only for Shane Cusack who blocked a low shot brilliantly after Dean Jarvis’ delivery had fallen to McDaid in the area.
McDaid did score just 90 seconds after half-time, though, as he tapped in from close range after Patrick McEleney’s shot was blocked on the line by Stephen Folan.
Tiofack’s long-range effort dipped just over the crossbar moments later, but the game was over just past the hour mark as a mistake in defence led to Patterson crossing for McDaid who controlled and finished coolly.
Between 67 and 70 minutes, the score moved to 5-0 as firstly Jarvis headed in Madden’s wonderful cross and then Patterson laid the ball into McDaid’s path to finish past Cusack for his hat-trick.
Eleven minutes from time, it was Madden’s turn to find the net as he lifted the ball over Cusack. Limerick almost grabbed a consolation soon after but substitute Kieran Hanlon hit the bar from close range after Colm Murphy’s delivery.
In the absence of the suspended Stuart Taylor and Malky Thomson, goalkeeping coach Eddie Hickey took charge of a team that showed three changes to that that lined out in the win over Shelbourne nine days earlier.
Cusack, Folan and Dave O’Leary came in to replace Barry Ryan, Brian O’Callaghan and Patrick Nzuzi, while Shaun Kelly was handed the captain’s armband for the first time at Limerick.
Derry fired an early warning shot when Patterson cut in from the right and unleashed a superb left-footed effort that crashed back off the upright.
But the home side were in front on six minutes when Barry McNamee took a short corner to Madden whose high cross was headed back across goal by a Limerick player, with Rafter having the simplest of tasks to head to the net.
On 11 minutes, the Superblues had their first effort on goal after neat interplay on the right, Stephen Bradley passing to Gaffney who turned well and was unlucky to see a shot fly past the post.
Shortly after, McDaid found himself in behind the defence but 17-year-old Whitehead recovered brilliantly with an inch-perfect tackle as the Candystripes forward prepared to pull the trigger. Then Patterson fired wildly off target after Madden’s pull-back.
On 27 minutes, Bradley’s pass was deflected into the path of Tiofack close to the box but McBride got back well to clear behind.
Eight minutes later, following a Tiofack free-kick from close to the corner flag, Sheedy’s overhead kick went over the bar, and then Kelly and Tiofack both threatened in and around the box but Derry defended well.
Limerick controlled the game for much of the final 15 minutes of the half but, lacking a cutting edge, they were almost caught with a sucker-punch in first-half injury-time. Jarvis’ cross fell to McDaid in the box but he was brilliantly denied by Cusack.
But the hosts did double their advantage 90 seconds after the resumption as McEleney made a driving run into the box and saw his shot cleared off the line by Folan only for McDaid to tap in.
Moments later, Limerick almost responded as the ball fell invitingly to Tiofack 30-yards out but his dipping effort went just over.
On 59 minutes, Sheedy’s cross was headed by Gaffney from the edge of the box but while it may have had the power it lacked the accuracy. Two minutes later, the game was over as a contest.
A mistake in the backline handed Derry possession and Patterson’s cross went over Whitehead and came to McDaid who finished clinically.
On 67 minutes, the night went from bad to worse for Limerick as Madden’s wicked delivery was headed in by Jarvis, and then Patterson again supplied McDaid who fired in after the visitors had once more been caught at the back.
On 79 minutes, it was 6-0 as Madden raced free into the box and lifted the ball over Cusack, before Limerick’s night of misery was compounded by Hanlon hitting the bar from close range when he seemed certain to score.
Late on, Derry could have added more but a combination of Cusack and Kelly somehow denied Ryan Curran before the ‘keeper tipped over Patterson’s long-range effort.
Derry City: Ger Doherty, Simon Madden (Eoghan Osborne 88), Ryan McBride, Barry Molloy ©, Dean Jarvis, Patrick McEleney, Rory Patterson, David McDaid (Raymond Foy 73), Barry McNamee, Ryan Curran, Michael Rafter (Mark Griffin 75). Goal: M Rafter (6), D McDaid (47, 61, 70), D Jarvis (67), S Madden (79). Booked: S Madden (37). Unused Subs: Eugene Ferry (GK), Paddy Kavanagh, Michael Duffy.
Limerick: Shane Cusack, Shaun Kelly ©, Tony Whitehead, Stephen Folan, Colm Murphy, Jason Hughes (Kieran Hanlon 78), Stephen Bradley, Dave O’Leary, Carel Tiofack (James McGrath 76), Barry Sheedy (Darragh Rainsford 64), Rory Gaffney. Booked: J Hughes (63), R Gaffney (71). Unused Subs: Nathan Murray (GK), Val Feeney, Shane Costelloe, Robbie Williams.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan).