Shamrock Rovers easily saw off a poor Derry City side, thanks to Mikey Drennan’s opener and goals in the second half from Gary McCabe, Kieran Marty Waters as well as a controversial strike from Brandon Miele.
Ryan Curran notched a late consolation, which also saw the dismissal of Ryan McBride and Drennan, late on.
Rovers flew out of the blocks early on and after some neat work from Simon Madden and Waters, Drennan was left with the simplest of tap-ins at the back post to score his tenth goal of the season. The drama didn’t end there in a frantic start as Derry centre-back McBride went in heavily on Patrick Cregg and referee Ray Mathews brandished a straight red card.
Somehow Rovers didn’t double their lead when the lively Waters capitalised on a terrible, and uncharacteristic mistake by goalkeeper Ger Doherty. A long ball was chased down by Miele and the Derry man miss-kicked straight to Waters but his effort was poor and Derry survived.
The home side kept up the pressure in search of a second goal and Drennan went close a couple of times but some poor finishing and great goalkeeping prevented the Kilkenny man from adding to his tally, somehow keeping the visitors to within one goal.
On the stroke of half-time the Hoops created two more chances, firstly after tenacious work from Cregg. The former Hibs man laid the ball off to Miele, who with the goal gaping, couldn’t get the ball out of his feet. Moments later, an in-swinging McCabe free-kick fell to Drennan, who shot into the side netting.
It took only four second half minutes for Rovers to get the elusive second goal and effectively kill off the contest as Waters cut inside on his left foot and slid the ball to the impressive McCabe, where he brilliantly took the ball around the on-rushing Doherty.
Waters added a third only six minutes later when he cut in and shot past Doherty, who might feel he could have done better. Rovers capped the game off with a contentious offside decision by Mathews, as a header from Conor Kenna found its way through to Miele, who looked a mile offside, yet he was allowed to slot the ball past Doherty, as Derry protested in vein. Rovers have now scored nine goals in two games.
The Hoops’ top scorer, Drennan, then had a moment of madness when he snapped and pushed Seanan Clucas after reacting to a poor challenge. He was subsequently sent off.
Substitute Curran then scored with moments to go as he capitalised on a scramble in the Rovers penalty area.
Kieran Marty Waters stole the show after a scintillating performance, which had the Derry defence chasing shadows for long periods. The cultured winger was also involved in three of the goals, bagging the 3rd and assisting two more.
Up until the 79th minute this has to be Ryan McBride, after his reckless challenge on Cregg. However, Drennan’s stupid dismissal, with his team cruising, may just cause Rovers dearly as he will be suspended for three games.
Some fantastic link up play from Rovers’ attacking players; Drennan, Miele, McCabe and Waters was a joy to watch and they all bagged a goal for their efforts in an easy win for the Hoops.
In what promised to be an exciting dual in midfield between Stephen McPhail and Barry McNamee, there was only winner, with the former dominating midfield. McNamee could not get a grip on the game, especially after McBride’s dismissal.
Chant Of The Night
After Derry scored their late consolation goal through Curran, the Derry fans responded with a confident chant that they were going to win the match 5-4.
What Happens Next?
The home side face one of their biggest matches of any season as they travel north of the Liffey to take on arch-rivals Bohemians. As Bohs have surprised a few people, and Rovers have a poor record in recent years, it will be a seriously tough test for the Hoops.
Derry face another trip on Friday, this time to Drogheda United, where they need to gain a positive result as they have only earned one point in their last four matches and are in danger of getting sucked into a relegation battle.
Shamrock Rovers: Craig Hyland; Simon Madden, Conor Kenna (Tim Clancy 73), Dave Webster, Luke Byrne; Patrick Cregg, Stephen McPhail (Gavin Brennan 66); Marty Waters (Gareth McCaffrey, 84), Brandon Miele, Gary McCabe; Mikey Drennan.
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Seamus Sharkey, Ryan McBride, Shane McEleney, Aaron Barry; Seanan Clucas, Barry McNamee (Ryan Curran 84), Philip Lowry; Josh Daniels (Ronan Curtis 74), Paddy McEleney (Cillian Morrison 61), Dean Jarvis.
Referee: Ray Matthews (Westmeath)
Dan O’Carroll, Pundit Arena