Macdara Ferris reports from the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium
Shamrock Rovers solidified their second place in the league table with a 2-0 win over Derry City in the Brandywell on Friday night.
Aaron McEneff helped the Hoops by scoring a spotkick as he returned to haunt his former club, before a penalty save by Alan Mannus and a goal from Aaron Greene gave Rovers all three points.
Stephen Bradley deployed Greene as his number nine allowing free roles behind for both Graham Burke, making his first league start on his return to Rovers, and Jack Byrne, who earlier in the day was called up to Mick McCarthy’s Republic of Ireland squad.
Dan Carr was not part of the Hoops squad having flown to Cyprus for a medical ahead of his proposed move to Apollon Limassol.
It was a very cagey scoreless first with Derry pressing Rovers hard as the Hoops looked to move the ball patiently from back to front and side to side.
Derry City number one Peter Cherrie was the busier ‘keeper and did well to bat away a Burke effort ten minutes from the break, while Gerardo Bruna fired closest for the Candystripes at the other end.
Bruna, who Declan Devine signed up with an extended deal with City during the week, got involved in much of the best of City's play in opening 45 minutes.
Early in the second half City came close to making the breakthrough as a Jamie McDonagh driven effort from the right went just by Mannus’ right hand post when it looked destined for the corner.
However the deadlock was broken just after the hour mark with a penalty for the Hoops.
It came from a good run down the right by Greene which ended with referee Rob Hennessy pointing to the spot.
McEneff, who scored earlier in the season with a panenka penalty against City, hit this one cleanly to give Rovers the lead – getting his ninth league goal of the season.
The Candystripes soon after had a chance of their own to score with a spot kick when the referee deemed that Roberto Lopes had fouled David Parkhouse.
The City striker had scored five goals in his last eight league games but his strongly hit spot kick was matched by Mannus who pulled off a superb save as he dived to his right to push the ball away.
That miss proved costly for the home team, who lost their third place in the table to Bohs who beat UCD 10-1 on the night, as Greene wrapped up the win with a well taken goal on 76 minutes driving into the box before drilling the ball by Cherrie.
Rovers remain seven points behind league leaders Dundalk having played a game more. The Hoops have a six point gap over Bohs with two games in hand on the Gypsies, both of which are against Waterford, starting with a trip to the RSC this coming Monday.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie; Darren Cole, Eoin Toal, Ally Gilchrist, Ciaran Coll; Jamie McDonagh, Greg Sloggett, Gerardo Bruna (Darren McCauley, 77) Ciaran Harkin (Michael McCrudden, 74); Barry McNamee (Jack Malone, 74); David Parkhouse.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Ethan Boyle, Lee Grace, Robert Lopes; Ronan Finn, Aaron McEneff (Dylan Watts, 78), Greg Bolger (Brandon Kavanagh, 86), Jack Byrne, Sean Kavanagh; Aaron Greene; Graham Burke.
Referee: Rob Hennessy
Attendance: 2,500 (estimate)
extratime.ie man of the match: Aaron Greene (Shamrock Rovers)