Russell, who was appointed last month, watched as goals from Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy and Ryan Curran secured the points for the Candystripes.
Besides Barry Ryan’s save from Duffy and Ryan McBride’s blatant obstruction of Lee J Lynch, which went unpunished, the opening 15 minutes was a snooze-fest.
Derry netted in the 20th minute after McEleney swept home his sides’ 50th goal of the season in all competitions following an excellent passing sequence from the visitors.
City doubled their advantage eight minutes from the break after McEleney blocked down an attempted clearance from Stephen Folan and played Michael Duffy in. Duffy saw his initial shot saved by Ryan, but made no mistake with his second attempt, with a queue of Derry players behind him.
At the other end, Kieran Djilali raced in behind the Derry defence, but his near-post effort was tipped onto the post by Ger Doherty.
Derry continued their passing game after the break, with McBride going close with a long-range effort which was saved by Ryan.
Djilali and Jason Hughes combined to played Gaffney through in the 50th minute, but the Limerick striker turned back into a defender.
Doherty then saved from Lynch and Ian Turner, but Lowry more or less secured the points with a fine 18-yard finish just past the hour.
Ryan Curran, who was only on the field three minutes, blasted home a fourth five minutes from time, while Mark Timlin almost made it 5-0 in injury-time.
LIMERICK FC: Ryan, Nzuzi, Oji (O’Connor 25) Folan (Whitehead 79), Williams, Hughes, Duggan, Djilali (Doherty 69) Turner, Lee J Lynch, Gaffney.
DERRY CITY: Doherty, Kelly, Barry, Jarvis, Molloy, McBride, McNamee (Curran 82) McElenery, Duffy (Tracey 85) Lowry, Dooley (Timlin 69).
Referee: R Harvey (Dublin).