Graham Burke’s strike from halfway caps Shamrock Rovers’ fine night out
Candystripes suffer fourth straight loss to start the season
Graham Burke scores from the halfway line in Shamrock Rovers’ SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Derry City at Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Derry City 0 Shamrock Rovers 2
Graham Burke will remember a stunning strike at the Brandywell when finding the net from the halfway line, a goal which effectively put this game to bed against a youthful Derry City at the Brandywell.
The defending champions displayed class and tenacity in the north-west, a performance which will have made all challengers sit up and take notice as they extended their unbeaten league record to 25 matches over a period of 19 months.
With both sides having made eye-catching changes in personnel from last weekend’s fixtures, it was Derry who carved out the opening clearcut scoring chance in the 15th minute having started the game on the front foot.
David Parkhouse appeared to be chasing a lost cause when Seán Hoare headed the ball back to Alan Mannus, however the Derry striker got a touch before the advancing goalkeeper, the ball crashing off the base of the upright.
Rovers responded within 60 seconds but Burke’s tame low shot was directed at goalkeeper Nathan Gartside who gathered the ball with ease.
However, further pressure from the visitors reaped dividends in the 34th minute.
Seán Gannon played Burke into a shooting position on the edge of the Derry box and while the striker’s effort was superbly parried by Gartside, the alert Rory Gaffney gleefully guided the rebound into the unguarded net from close range.
And it got worse for Derry as the game approached half-time when Gartside was clearly caught straying from this goal-line.
The alert Burke gained possession inside his own half and having carried the ball to the halfway line, he let fly with a shot that sailed high over the stunned goalkeeper’s head and into the net.
After the break Rovers continued to stretch the home side with swift and accurate passing movements as they attempted to extend their lead, while Mannus was never forced into a serious save.
For Derry, four defeats in the opening four games equals the Brandywell club’s starting statistic in 2003, a year in which the club escaped relegation thanks to a last-gasp Liam Coyle strike.
And there’s no doubt that the pressure on Derry boss Declan Devine will have increased significantly as he leads his side into this Friday night’s televised game against Drogheda United.
DERRY CITY: Gartside; Boyce, Toal, McJannet (Porter, 82), Coll; McAkintunde (Ferry, 75 mins), Patching, Malone (Harkin, 75 mins), Lafferty; Barr (McLaughlin, 82 mins); Parkhouse (Fitzgerald, 60 mins)
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; Hoare, Scales, Grace; Gannon, O’Neill, Mandriou, Watts (Nugeny, 75 mins), Murphy (Lopes, 65 mins); Burke, Gaffney (Greene, 65 mins).
Referee: D McGraith (Mayo).