Dave Donnelly reports from Tallaght Stadium
Goals from Dan Carr and Joel Coustrain saw Shamrock Rovers past a sorry Derry City at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night.
Derry arrived in Tallaght without midfielders Nicky Low (injured) and Aaron McEneff (suspended) and the Candystripes looked content to simply contain the home side.
That tactic worked, for the most part, in the first half as Rovers proved wasteful in front of goal, but once Carr scored on the stroke of half time, Derry never looked like getting back into it.
If Rovers are to struggle in front of goal following the departure of top scorer Graham Burke to Preston North End, there were few signs here as the Hoops created chances at will.
They should have led as early as the 13th minute, when Carr's movement left Conor McDermott – playing at centre-half – flat-footed, but having opened up the chance he pulled it badly wide.
Brandon Kavanagh was the creator of that move, and he almost scored himself moments later as he ran onto a Ronan Finn through-ball, but Gerard Doherty did brilliantly to turn his shot wide.
Finn had forced another save from Doherty in between, while Sam Bone and Carr again shot narrowly wide, with Carr's chance from a half-cleared cross particularly inviting.
Derry's best hope of hitting the net appeared to be from set-pieces, with auxiliary right-back Jamie McDonagh and Canadian debutant Ben Fisk putting in some dangerous crosses.
There was a two-minute water break midway through the half to allow players recover from the high-20s heat, and it was to prove a particularly costly two minutes for Derry
Kenny Shiels' side thought they'd made it to the break with part one of the gameplan – to keep a clean sheet – completed, when the fourth official signalled two additional minutes.
McDonagh, who's not a natural full-back, always looked the weak link in the Derry side and it was down his side of the pitch the opening goal came.
Coustrain and Sean Kavanagh exchanged passes, and Coustrain showed more desire than Ronan Hale to drive on down the left and cross for Carr in the box.
The cross was behind Carr, but the Trinidadian controlled neatly before turning and placing his volley into the top corner past a helpless Gerard Doherty.
Derry came out of their shells in the second half but that only created more space for Rovers to retain the ball, and Brandon Kavanagh was the next to force a save from Doherty.
That said, the visitors squandered a great chance to level matters when McDonagh's deep free kick found an unmarked Eoin Toal, but the big defender misjudged the ball and glanced it wide.
The clincher arrived 20 minutes into the second half when Carr's quick feet again opened space and his shot was blocked, but only into the path of Coustrain, who bundled in his second in two games.
Rory Hale was fortunate only to see yellow for a late challenge on Sean Kavanagh as the Candystripes' resistance fizzled out and Rovers saw out the win with ease.
Shamrock Rovers: Gavin Bazunu; Joey O'Brien, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Sean Kavanagh; Sam Bone, David McAllister, Ronan Finn, Brandon Kavanagh (Brandon Miele 77), Joel Coustrain (Aaron Bolger 77); Dan Carr (Sean Boyd 85).
Subs not used: Kevin Horgan (gk), Luke Byrne, Ally Gilchrist, Gary Shaw.
Booked: Joel Coustrain (55).
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Jamie McDonagh, Eoin Toal, Conor McDermott (Gavin Peers 46), Jack Doyle; Daren Cole, Rory Hale, Ben Fisk (Shane McNamee 86); Ben Doherty, Ronan Hale (Aidy Delap 71), Rory Patterson.
Subs not used: Eric Grimes (gk), Evan Tweed, Cathal Farren, Niall Logue.
Booked: Rory Hale (69), Jamie McDonagh (79).
Referee: Rob Rogers.
Attendance: 2,845 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Sam Bone (Shamrock Rovers).