Shamrock Rovers issue statement of intent with devastating second half against Derry

Stephen Bradley’s men punish the Candystripes with three second half goals during a devastating 12-minute span

Derry City 1 Shamrock Rovers 3

Shamrock Rovers issued a statement of intent at the Brandywell, Stephen Bradley’s men punishing Derry City with three second half goals during what was a devastating 12 minutes.

Lone striker Aaron Greene netted a magnificent brace while Richie Towell sealed the deal with a fine finish having found the net after fine passing movement.

The victory sees Rovers leapfrog Derry into second spot and with a game in hand the also travel to meet leaders Shelbourne on Monday night.

To be fair, Derry had competed well during what was a thrilling first half and few would have predicted what was to come after the break.


In fact the Candystripes had opened well in front of a capacity attendance with Michael Duffy and Paul McMullan causing Rovers problems with their high press but both failed to find the net when well placed during what was a lively opening.

The end-to-end play continued throughout the opening period with Derry actually finding the net in the 12h minute when Ben Doherty sent Danny Mullen through and while he guided the ball beyond the reach of Leon Pohls, an alert linesman was quick to raise his flag.

Rovers really should have moved into the driving seat in the 20th minute when Aaron Greene scampered clear following a high ball from defence.

However, in the subsequent one-on-one situation, Maher made a decisive block and when the ball broke to Richie Towell his goal bound effort was whipped off the goal-line by Doherty much to the delight of the Derry faithful.

Derry bounced back in the 32nd minute Pohls pulled off a magnificent diving one-handed save to divert Duffy’s curling shot wide of his goal at the expense of a corner.

And as the game approached the half-time whistle a superb strike by Derry’s Danny Mullen crashed off the upright with Pohls beaten and the crowd back on their feet after a thrilling opening period.

Mullan maintained his presence in the Derry front line when he went close to scoring again during the home side’s first foray after the change of ends.

And Derry maintained their momentum from the first half when Adan O’Reilly played Ronan Boyce through but the Donegal man was denied by the outstretched leg of Pohls.

Rovers then stepped up to the plate and after failing to take advantage of a mistake from Shane McEleney, the Dubliners claimed the lead in the 56th minute.

Having gained possession in midfield Rovers’ hitman, Aaron Greene found the necessary space and having received the ball from Daragh Burns, the striker produced a superb low finish much to the delight of the small band of travelling supporters. Six minutes later Rovers put Derry to the sword with a second goal, not unsimilar to the their opener with the same two players involved.

The home side were caught cold again when another Burns through ball from Greene in acres of space and as he raced forward he floated a delightful lob over the head of the advancing Maher, the ball bouncing into the net.

With the home side stunned and the crowd silenced Rovers burst forward again and, following an intelligent passing movement, Towell was the recipient of a simple pass and he gleefully netted his side’s third strike to end this fixture as a contest and ignite their defence of the Premier Division championship for the fourth successive year.

Derry sub Pat Hoban netted a late, late consolation strike.

DERRY CITY: Maher; McEleney (Kelly, 65), Connolly, McJannet; Boyce, Patching, O’Reilly, Doherty; McMullan, Duffy (Hoban, 65); Mullen.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Pohls; Lopes, Cleary, Honohan; Burns (Nugent, 68), O’Neill Clarke, 60), Watts, Burke (Kenny, 68); Towell, Poom; Greene (Gaffney, 68).

Referee: P. McLaughlin (Donegal).