Odhrán Crumley reports from the Brandywell
Goals from debutants Aaron Splaine and Ally Roy gave Derry City a much-needed comeback win over an adventurous Limerick side.
The Blues had taken the lad early on through fit-again Connor Ellis, but Splaine equalised before the break and Roy grabbed the winner in the second half.
Derry new boy Roy got his first touch for the club as he got proceedings underway.
The former Sligo Rovers man was one of three new signings in the City starting eleven, with Danny Seaborne and Splaine also making their debuts.
Limerick had the first effort of the game after just 47 seconds when Ellis’ positive run saw him bear down on the home goal, but his effort struck the post before going wide.
The first effort on goal from Derry came in the seventh minute with Aaron McEneff sliding in Ben Fisk.
The number ten had his effort saved by Tommy Holland at the near post as he almost ran out of pitch.
McEneff really should have put his side into the lead soon after profiting from an inch perfect through ball from Ben Doherty, but his effort trailed off target.
The Limerick goal was beginning to live something of a charmed life. Jamie’s McDonagh’s driven cross was directed over the bar by Rory Hale, who just could not get his foot over the ball.
Roy came agonisingly close to opening his account for his new club, firing just over the bar after some nice feet inside the area from Fisk to create the chance.
Ellis put Limerick into the lead ten minutes before the break, the striker emphatically finishing into the top left corner of the net from a perfectly-weighted Will Fitzgerald cross.
It took Derry just over a minute to reply as Splaine capped his debut with a wonder goal. He shot from 25 yards, curling the ball into the top corner of the net.
The sides remained deadlocked at the break with both likely to be fairly happy given the circumstances.
It took just 34 seconds of the second half for Roy to fire Derry into the lead.
The Scot shot across goal and into the bottom right corner of the net, becoming the second home debutant of the night to score.
The Candystripes continued to exert their dominance. McDonagh cut out a lose Limerick pass in the final third before seeing his well struck effort tail to the left and wide.
Karl O’Sullivan’s pace was causing the home defence real problems on the counter. The young winger’s direct style saw him drift past Darren Cole before firing over the top.
On the hour mark, a poor touch from Aaron Spilane on the edge of the area allowed Barry O’Sullivan to get in clean through on goal but he could only fire over the bar.
Rory Hale appeared to have doubled the Derry advantage20 minutes from the end as his strike from the edge of the area hit the inside of the post and trailed along the goalline, but somehow it stayed out of the net.
Limerick almost equalised as added time approached, only for Gerard Doherty to make a wonder save, diving to his left to keep Barry Maguire’s curling effort from the top corner.
McDonagh almost killed the game off in injury time after a clever from clip on from Rory Patterson saw him get in on goal, but his shot was inches wide of the post.
This would prove to the final action of the game as Derry City claimed a much needed three points.
Derry City : Gerard Doherty; Darren Cole, Gavin Peers, Danny Seaborne, Ben Doherty; Jamie McDonagh, Rory Hale, Aaron Splaine, Ben Fisk, Aaron McEneff; Ally Roy (Rory Patterson 78).
Subs not Used: Eric Grimes (gk), Conor McDermott, Eoin Toal, Cathal Farren, Ronan Hale, Adrian Delap.
Limerick: Tommy Holland; Killian Cantwell, Killian Brouder, Eoin Wearen, Billy Dennehy; Karl O’Sullivan, Shane Duggan (Darren Murphy 73), Cian Coleman, William Fitzgerald; Barry Maguire; Connor Ellis (Danny Morrissey 69).
Subs not used: Jack Brady (gk), Shane Tracy, Tomas O’Connor, Adam Foley, Ger Barry.
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Attendance: 1,100 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Jamie McDonagh (Derry City).