Limerick FC 0-4 Derry City
LIMERICK FC’s recent improvement came to an abrupt end at Thomond Park on Monday night as Derry City romped to an easy 4-0 win, with goals from Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy, Philip Lowry and Ryan Curran.
The visitors looked the more threatening side right from the off, with Limerick struggling to create anything to keep the Candystripes’ defence occupied on a night when Shaun Kelly made his first appearance on Shannonside since moving to Derry last month.
Derry hit the front on 21 minutes when McEleney gained possession in the penalty area and, with yards of freedom to pick his spot, he took one touch to control before stroking the ball past Barry Ryan in the Limerick net.
The lead was doubled in the 34th minute after sloppy play at the back from Martin Russell’s side. Stephen Folan’s attempted clearance was blocked down by Duffy, who passed to McEleney and his shot was repelled by Ryan. The ball fell kindly, though, for Stephen Dooley to tee up Duffy for the simplest of finishes.
Derry goalkeeper Ger Doherty was finally called into action shortly before half-time, getting down to make an impressive stop from Kieran Djilali after the Limerick midfielder surged into the penalty area.
It was the only time the Candystripes were in any way troubled in a dreary first half, although Limerick came out after the interval with a bit more intent. On 56 minutes Shane Duggan slipped an intricate through ball to Rory Gaffney, only for the visitors to snuff out the danger. The Super Blues managed to work the ball out wide on a few occasions, but Derry coped comfortably with everything that was thrown at them.
Doherty didn’t have a whole lot to do on the night but was alert and able when called upon. Just after the hour, he produced two quick-fire saves from Lee J Lynch and Ian Turner to prevent Limerick from getting a foothold on the game. Within a couple of minutes, a neat interchange of passing between Duffy and McEleney set up Lowry for a beautiful 18-yard volley to the Limerick net and the match was over as a contest.
Not for the first time, Ryan spared the Super Blues from further punishment as he pulled off two fine saves to deny Ryan McBride’s close-range header and a curling McEleney shot, with Derry also going close from a swift counter-attack. Dooley dragged his shot wide, though, when he looked primed to score.
The final 20 minutes of the game passed by with very little incident of note amidst a spate of yellow cards and substitutions, although there was time for Peter Hutton’s men to add further gloss to the scoreline with three minutes to go. Substitute Ryan Curran had only been on the pitch for five minutes when he found the net for Derry’s fourth goal.
Only a week after beating champions St Patrick’s Athletic on their own turf, Limerick turned in by far their poorest display under Russell’s stewardship and also lost Samuel Oji to injury midway through the first half, with two other defenders beginning the game with slight knocks. There won’t be much recovery time as they are in action again on Friday night at home to Drogheda United, although that match offers Limerick a chance to quickly get this insipid defeat out of their system.
Limerick FC: Ryan, Nzuzi, Oji (O’Connor 25), Folan (Whitehead 78), Williams, Turner, Hughes, Duggan, Lynch, Djilali (Doherty 71), Gaffney.
Derry City: Doherty, Kelly, McBride, Barry, Jarvis, Lowry, McNamee (Curran 82), Molloy, Dooley (Timlin 71), P McEleney, Duffy (Tracey 86).
Referee: Rob Harvey