First half goals from Barry McNamee and Mark Timlin gave Derry City a much needed win over a confidence deprived Limerick at a sparsely populated Jackman Park.
The hosts will rue missed opportunities in the first half as the Ulster side held Limerick off with relative ease after the break.
Limerick, playing a 4-4-2 formation, with Robbie Williams at centre-half and Shane Tracy at left back, began the game brighter than City. Paul O’Conor has the first real chance in a half drenched in sun.
Dean Clarke, who was impressive throughout, did well to get to the end line. He cut the ball back to Paul O’Conor, who from eight yards out could only find Ger Doherty’s legs.
Shane McEleney, who was given a run around by Clarke, soon went into the book for a forceful but fair looking challenge on the striker.
Derry had their first opening off a Limerick mistake. A wayward pass by ‘keeper Conor O’Donnell allowed the Derry midfield play in Mark Timlin, the winger denied by the onrushing O’Donnell.
Seanan Clucas had a wayward clearance which Shane Duggan fired goal ward, but his effort was nor a shot nor a cross as Jason Hughes waited at the far post. Then, just when it seemed Limerick were becoming more confident, disaster struck.
Another poor clearance by O’Donnell fell to Barry McNamee, the midfielder played in Patrick McEleney who had raced clear of Shane Tracy. O’Donnell brought him down despite claims he won the ball.
McNamee, who impressed once again tonight, sent the ex-UCD man the wrong way.
Derry doubled their advantage in first half stoppage time when Timlin was afforded too much time and curled into the top corner from just inside the penalty area.
After the restart, the Candystripes seemed satisfied with their advantage and sat deep and held firm. Despite this, Aidan Price had a half-volley from a corner blocked on the line, it seemed lady-luck had deserted the men in Blue.
With chances at a premium, Patrick McEleney almost put the icing on the cake when sub Ryan Curran fed him. His curling left-footed effort was saved well by O’Donnell.
Dean Clarke, who seemed to divide his time between either wing and through the middle found space out wide that nearly lead to a 90th minute goal. His cross was met on the volley by Kieran Hanlon. The ball rebounded off the woodwork to deny Hanlon his first senior goal for the Blues. Duggan then fired a volley just over after Limerick recycled the rebound.
The six added minutes couldn’t save Limerick as they slipped to another disappointing loss. Derry gain their second win on the road after shipping some criticism following their drought in-front of goal recently.
Limerick FC: Conor O’Donnell; Séan Harding, Aidan Price, Robbie Williams (Tony Whitehead 90+1), Shane Tracy (Kieran Hanlon 73); Shane Duggan, Paul O’Conor, Jason Hughes (Ian Turner 73), Sean Russell; Vinny Faherty, Dean Clarke.
Subs not Used: Tommy Holland (gk), Darragh Rainsford, Val Feeney, Paudie O’Connor.
Booked: Conor O’Donnell (25).
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Dean Jarvis, Shane McEleney, Aaron Barry, Seamus Sharkey (Ryan Curran 76); Phillip Lowry, Barry McNamee, Seanan Clucas, Sean Houston, Mark Timlin; Patrick McEleney (Nathan Boyle 90+5).
Subs not Used: Shaun Patton (gk), Joshua Tracey, Anthony Elding, Cillian Morrison.
Booked: Shane McEleney (13).
Referee: Derek Tomney
Extratime.ie Man of The Match: Barry McNamee (Derry City)