Derry City drew 1-1 with Cork City at the Brandywell on Friday.
The Candy Stripes struggled to create chances in the first half but on their second half performance alone they deserved to win the game.
Cork took the lead in the 84th minute Darryl Horgan fired the ball past Gerard Doherty from 25 yards out.
Horgan’s strike was totally against the run of play but it was a magnificent goal and one that shocked and silenced the Brandywell faithful
Be that as it may, Cork’s lead was short-lived as Rory Patterson equalised 60 seconds later.
The first half was utterly sleep inducing and those leaving their seats at half-time for a traditional cuppa would have been forgiven had they kept walking in the direction of the music coming from Ebrington Square.
Derry City’s first chance of the game didn’t arrive until the 42nd minute when Patrick McEleney found space inside the Cork area but his shot flew wide.
Cork City enjoyed the better share of the play up until then, but only just.
Cork’s Colin Healy saw his fourth minute shot saved by Gerard Doherty and despite having the ball in the net in the 19th minute Danny Morrissey’s strike didn’t stand as Darren Dennehy fouled Doherty seconds earlier.
The first half was largely uneventful and the fact that both teams had five players in midfield put a strangle hold on the game and it wasn’t until Derry City manager Declan Devine changed things up at half-time that the game came alive.
Devine replaced left-back Dermot McCaffrey with Michael Duffy during the break.
Barry McNamee slotted in at left-back whilst Duffy went straight over to the left side of midfield.
Derry looked refreshed and Patrick McEleney went close to scoring when he unleashed a ferocious 30 yard drive in the 55th minute but sadly for the Candy Stripes it went wide.
Patrick McEleney’s 61st minute corner was almost converted by brother Shane but the centre-back’s header went wide of the post.
McEleney was breathing much needed life into the game and he found team mate Rory Patterson with a brilliant pass in the 68th minute. Patterson’s first touch was sublime and he fired a powerful shot towards goal but McNulty reacted brilliantly to tip the ball around the post.
Michael Duffy found Patrick McEleney with a great pass from the left side in the 71st minute but despite being totally unmarked the Derry winger headed his close range effort over the bar.
Chances for Ruaidhri Higgins and Michael Duffy came an went in the 78th and 80th minute respectively but the Candy Stripes were left scratching their heads in the 84th minute when Darryl Horgan curled an amazing 25 yard shot past Doherty and into the net.
Cork’s lead was short-lived as Rory Patterson seized upon poor defending by John Dunleavy. The Cork defender attempted to pass the ball back to goalkeeper Mark McNulty but Patterson reacted brilliantly to toe poke the ball into the net.
Next up for Derry City is Blarney United in the second round of the FAI Ford Cup in O’Shea Park on Saturday June 1, kick-off 3.00pm.
Derry City: (4-5-1) - Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Dermot McCaffrey, Shane McEleney, Ryan McBride (HT Michael Duffy), (Michael Rafter 79 mins); Barry Molloy, Ruaidhri Higgins, Kevin Deery, Patrick McEleney, Barry McNamee; Rory Patterson.
Subs not used: James Gallagher, Stewart Greacen, Ryan Curran, Connall Kelly, Josh Tracey.
Cork City: (4-5-1) - Mark McNulty; Danny Murphy, Neal Horgan, Gary Buckley, Darren Dennehy; Darryle Horgan, Colin Healy, John Dunleavy, Shane Duggan, Gearoid Morrissey; Danny Morrissey.
Subs not used: Ian Turner, Darryl Kavanagh, Adam Rundle, Kalen Spillane, Brian Lenihan, Stephen Kenny, Kevin Burns.
Referee: Mr. Tomas Connolly (Dublin).