Rovers strengthen hold on second

Second half goals from Aaron McEneff and Aaron Greene put a hard working Derry City to the sword at the Brandywell as Rovers consolidated second spot in the Premier Division table.

Rovers strengthen hold on second

By Arthur Duffy

[team1]Derry City[/team1][score1]0[/score1][team2]Shamrock Rovers[/team2][score2]2[/score2][/score]

Second half goals from Aaron McEneff and Aaron Greene put a hard working Derry City to the sword at the Brandywell as Rovers consolidated second spot in the Premier Division table. And while the scoreline did not reflect the balance of play on the night, Limerick referee Rob Hennessy awarded two controversial penalties — one for each side — Derry failing to take advantage with their spotkick.

In what proved a highly competitive first half, scoring chances were at a premium and, if truth be told, there was very little between the teams. That said the attendance of 2,500 made themselves heard as Hennessy flashed three yellow cards within the space of 10 minutes as the battle intensified midway through the opening period.

Ronan Finn received the third of those cards following a challenge on Ciaron Harkin and from the resultant Gerardo Bruna free-kick, Finn deflected the ball over his own crossbar in the 31st minute. Five minutes later at the other end, Derry keeper, Peter Cherrie, pulled off a superb save to deny Graham Burke’s stinging drive and the home lot breathed a sigh of relief.

Two minutes before the break Bruna attempted a shot from distance and while Rovers keeper, Mannus, dived at full stretch, the shot screamed agonisingly wide of the upright. A low centre from the hard-working Sean Kavanagh whistled across the Derry six yards box in the 44th minute before Harkin managed to whip the ball clear.

Derry threatened on the break during the early exchanges of the second half when Barry McNamee played Jamie McDonagh into a promising position but the winger’s rasping shot flew across the face of goal and wide of the target.

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In the 54th minute Derry broke again on the right, McDonagh’s pass was left by McNamee before Harkin ballooned his shot over the bar when he should have done better. Burke weaved his way into Derry penalty area but he dragged his shot wide of the target.

The match was turned on its head in controversial fashion in the 61st minute following a stray pass by David Parkhouse. The pass was intercepted by Aaron Green and when he squared the ball into the area, Jack Byrne dropped to the ground under a challenge, the referee pointed to the penalty spot and Aaron McEneff drove the ball home from 12 yards.

Bruna then forced Mannus into a save in the 65th minute as Derry attempted to restore equality backed by the big home support. And in the 71st minute the referee presented Derry with a penalty after Lopes was ajudged to have impeded Parkhouse, however, the Derry striker was denied by Mannus much to the disappointment of the attendance.

Rovers then ended the match as a contest in the 75th minute following a slick move on the left flank, which saw Greene sent scampering and the winger raced into the penalty area to give Cherrie no chance, the ball crashing high into the top corner of the net.

The home side huffed and puffed to the end while Rovers will now focus on reducing Dundalk’s seven points advantage when facing another trip on the road for Monday’s re-arranged fixture at the RSC against Waterford.

DERRY CITY:

Cherrie; Cole, Toal, Gilchrist, Coll; McDonagh, Sloggett, Bruna (McCauley, 77) Harkin (McCrudden, 74); McNamee (Malone, 74); Parkhouse.

SHAMROCK ROVERS:

Mannus; Boyle, Grace, Lopes; Finn, McEneff (Watts, 78), Bolger (B. Kavanagh 86), Byrne, S. Kavanagh; Greene; Burke.

Referee: R. Hennessy (Limerick).

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