Limerick held firm to secure their first clean-sheet of the season as they ended an eight-game losing streak in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division with a scoreless draw against Derry City at The Brandywell on Friday night.
Derry were on the front foot from early on and would have been ahead inside eight minutes had Patrick McEleney produced a better touch in the box.
Probing, it took until the half-hour mark for Derry to seriously threaten. Stephen Dooley should have put them ahead when Mark Timlin put a cross on a plate for him but he failed to finish, with the goal at his mercy.
Bermudian International ‘keeper Freddie Hall then produced a fine save to deny Barry McNamee, before McEleney had a goal ruled out for offside. The Dooley fired over as Limerick survived until the break.
Derry threatened again in the opening moments of the second half but that proved to be the best of the action until the very death when substitute Cillian Morrison mis-controlled in the box when in front of an empty goal.
Limerick boss Martin Russell made five changes to the team that lined out against Galway United six days earlier. Hall came in for his competitive debut to replace youngster Tommy Holland.
The other switches saw Aidan Price, Robbie Williams, Ian Turner and Ross Mann replace Tony Whitehead, Paudie O’Connor, Lee-J Lynch and Vinny Faherty. Derry included new signing Rob Cornwall, who joined from Shamrock Rovers on-loan.
Derry looked for an early opener and forced two early corners while McEleney curled an effort over. The No10 then should have put his side ahead after getting the better of Williams but a poor touch allowed Hall to gather.
At the other end, Shane Tracy fired a free-kick over before Dean Clarke got on the end of a cross into the box but at full-stretch he was unable to get enough power to trouble Ger Doherty.
Midway through the half, Clarke burst past three defenders and into the box where he went down but referee Paul Tuite was not interested. Then Candystripes captain Ryan McBride headed McNamee’s free-kick off the post but the flag was up in any case.
On the 30-minute mark, Derry came alive. The first chance came from Timlin’s low, driven cross which should have been buried by Dooley but from close range he somehow failed to connect.
Then McNamee broke through on goal but his low shot was brilliantly turned around the post by Hall, before in the next phase moments later Dooley’s effort was met with a last-ditch block from Tracy.
On 38 minutes, Derry had the ball in the net through a lob from McEleney but he was adjudged to have been offside. He then saw a low strike well saved and held by Hall.
Before the break, Derry had another good opening when McEleney’s trickery in the box allowed him space to chip the ball to the back post but there Dooley could only drive wildly over from close range.
At half-time, Russell introduced Prince Agyemang in place of Mann, but it was Derry who immediately threatened again, Williams doing well to clear behind under pressure in the area.
However, it was to be a poor second half where neither ‘keeper came close to being tested. Towards the end, Seán Russell went down in the area which saw the Limerick bench on their feet, while in the last seconds a dangerous cross evaded Hall and fell to Morrison but he handled when a good touch would have produced a winner.
Derry City: Ger Doherty, Rob Cornwall, Ryan McBride ©, Shane McEleney, Dean Jarvis, Stephen Dooley (Ronan Curtis 77), Philip Lowry, Barry McNamee, Mark Timlin, Patrick McEleney (Mark Quigley 81), Ryan Curran (Cillian Morrison 85). Booked: None. Unused Subs: Shaun Patton (GK), Joshua Daniels, Séamus Sharkey, Aaron Barry.
Limerick: Freddie Hall, Paul O’Conor, Aidan Price, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy, Ross Mann (Prince Agyemang HT), Jason Hughes (Lee-J Lynch 71), Shane Duggan ©, Ian Turner, Seán Russell, Dean Clarke. Booked: None. Unused Subs: Tommy Holland (GK), Seán Harding, Vinny Faherty, Darragh Rainsford, Paudie O’Connor.
Referee: Paul Tuite (Dublin).
Report Date: Friday 17 July 2015