Derry City saw off the challenge of Cobh Ramblers at the Brandywell yesterday afternoon with a determined second-half display.
Stephen Henderson’s youngsters from St Colman’s Park tested their Premier Division opponents to the full by stunning the home attendance of 3,000 with an equalising goal just three minutes after Derry had broken the deadlock.
However, Derry’s experience stood them in good stead when producing a more determined second-half performance, bossing the ball for lengthy periods before adding two goals.
For Cobh boss Henderson, there was disappointment but he heaped praise on his side’s never-say-die attitude.
My only disappointment is that we gifted Derry three goals,” he said.
“Yes, we made mistakes but we were always in the game, right up to the final whistle.
“In fact, it would have been interesting to see how the Derry players would have reacted had we managed to score that late penalty.
“Derry City are a full-time professional team, playing in a first-class stadium in front of big crowds, yet our lads were not fazed by this experience and I’m very proud of each and every one of them.
“I’m proud of them not just for how they played in the final, but for actually getting us there in the first place.
We don’t play in front of crowds like that; we are a young amateur team, so given our performance, I really don’t think we looked out of place at any stage.
“I couldn’t have asked for any more from the players. My only disappointment was the fact we gave them three goals. We’ll learn from the experience and move forward.” .
For Derry boss Kenny Shiels, this was a fitting victory following news the Foyleside stadium will be officially named the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
“To win a cup final, particularly after learning that the council will official rename the stadium in memory of Ryan, is special,” said Shiels.
It is a win which, hopefully, will boost the confidence of the players as they prepare for the visit of Bohemians on Wednesday night for our FAI Cup quarter-final.
The deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute, Derry taking advantage after Cobh centre-back James McSweeney appeared to lose his footing and the alert Ronan Hale took full advantage. Having gained possession, the striker worked his way into the danger area before accurately guiding the ball past the advancing Cobh keeper Adam Mylod.
Cobh hit back as Derry failed to deal with Kevin Taylor’s low delivery across the face of the home goal. Defender Dan Seaborne’s attempted clearance appeared to rebound off the leg of Cobh striker Christopher Hull and the Cork side were back in the game.
In the second half, Ronan Hale and Aaron McEneff went close with good efforts, Cobh keeper Mylod finding himself more involved in the action.
The Derry pressure told in the 54th minute. Ben Fisk floated the ball into the danger area and Darren Cole’s header gave Mylod no chance.
Derry then put the final out of the reach of Cobh when they were awarded a penalty. Jamie McDonagh made a penetrating run on the right and as he worked his way past Ian Mylod, the full-back clearly impeded the winger — a well placed referee, Ben Connolly, immediately pointed to the spot. Aaron McEneff drove the spotkick home and Cobh’s dream of a shock result began to fade.
Ramblers squandered an opportunity to reduce the arrears in the 87th minute having been awarded a penalty, Derry’s Darren Cole impeding David Hurley inside the box. Up stepped former Ipswich Town player Shane O’Connor, but Derry keeper Ger Doherty got down well to his left to block, with O’Connor’s follow-up sailing over.
Doherty; McDonagh, Cole, Seaborne, McHattie; Fisk (Delap, 75), Rory Hale (McNamee, 90), Splaine (Low 65), Shiels; McEneff; Ronan Hale.
A. Mylod; I. Mylod, McSweeney, Walker, Taylor; Christopher (Flemming, 60), O’Riordan (Donnellan, 72) O’Connor, Fernandez, (Leonard, 86); Hull, Hurley.
B. Connolly (Dublin).