Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D.Higgins, may have been in the crowd at Dalymount Park on Friday evening but the real presidential plaudits belonged to Derry City and manager Declan Devine.
The Candy Stripes continued with their amazing start to the 2013 season with a fourth consecutive league victory with a 4-0 win over 2009 league champions, Bohemians.
Lone striker Michael Rafter was outstanding, Barry McNamee put in the kind of performance that earned him a trial with Nottingham Forest last year and Simon Madden was as full of energy in the 90th minute as he was at the start of the game.
Aaraon Callaghan’s men started the game the better of the two teams.
Good build-up play in the 11th minute led to Ciarán Nangle firing a shot goal wards but his effort went wide despite Dave Scully trying to convert at the back post.
Derry City took the lead in the 14th minute when winger Patrick McEleney scored one of the best goals of his career.
McEleney picked the ball up on the left and cut inside past Derek Pender before unleashing a wondrous strike. McEleney’s shot had just the right balance of power and precision and from 25 yards out he gave Bohemians goalkeeper Dean Delaney no chance.
Michael Rafter led the counter attack in the 18th minute when he quickly passed the ball to Simon Madden on the right wing. Madden sprinted clear and attempted to find Barry Molloy but his pass was intercepted by Stephen Paisley.
Dave Scully forced Gerard Doherty into making a save in the 20th minute when he fired a long range effort low along the surface. Doherty reacted well and made sure the ball didn’t find the back of the Derry net.
Rafter doubled Derry’s lead in the 26th minute when he scored from close range.
Simon Madden beat the challenge of Luke Byrne with ease on the right before finding Rafter with a pass into the penalty area. It was terrible defending by Bohemians and they gifted Rafter the time to swivel and fire the ball into the bottom corner.
Ruaidhri Higgins almost scored a third for Derry when he connected with a Barry McNamee corner in the 29th minute but Higgins’ header went over the bar.
Dave Mulcahy saw his 31st minute shot on goal easily saved by Gerard Doherty.
McNamee and Rafter linked up well in the 36th minute before Paddy Kavanagh’s close range shot was saved by Dean Delaney.
Ramelton born McNamee was edging closer to the target and his 72nd minute free-kick was just inches away from finding the back of the net.
A corner fell to Barry McNamee in the 75th minute and the youngster attempted to lob Delaney only for Derek Pender to clear it off the line at the last second.
Unfortunately for Bohemians, Pender’s clearance was met by the head of Derry defender Ryan McBride who scored his second goal of the season.
Declan Devine’s team scored their fourth of the evening in the 77th minute when the impressive Rafter dribbled his way away from four Bohemians players before threading a fantastic pass through the defence to McNamee.
McNamee’s finish past Delaney was majestic and the 20 year-old midfielder was deserving of his strike.
Next up for Derry City is Dundalk F.C. at Oriel Park next Friday evening; kick-off 7.45pm.
Bohemians: Dean Delany; Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Stephen Paisley, Luke Byrne; Ciaran Nangle (Karl Moore 77), Ryan McEvoy, Stephen Traynor (Keith Buckley 46), Dave Mulcahy; Dave Scully, Kevin Devaney.
Subs not used: Greg Murray, Shane Murray, Dwyane Wilson, Conor O’Brien , Andy Mulligan.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Shane McEleney, Ryan McBride, Thomas Crawley (Dermot McCaffrey 83); Patrick Kavanagh (Michael Duffy 79), Barry Molloy, Ruaidhri Higgins, Patrick McEleney; Barry McNamee, Michael Rafter (Mark Griffin 80).
Subs not used: James Gallagher, Ryan Curran, Tony McNamee, Conall Kelly.
REFEREE: Mr. Anthony Buttimer.