STEPHEN Dooley made his long awaited return to action for Derry City this evening and the winger even managed to get on the scoresheet as the ‘Candy Stripes’ cruised to a 4-0 victory over Greencastle Football Club at Chapel Lane.
First half goals from Philip Lowry, Barry McNamee and Dooley and an early second half strike from Ryan Curran ensured the win for Peter Hutton’s troops in the charity fundraising match organised in support of Derry’s record goalscorer, Mark Farren who recently returned home from Mexico where he was receiving treatment on a life-threatening brain tumour.
Derry fielded a strong starting line-up against the Inishowen League outfit which included Dooley and trialist, Paul George - a former Celtic youth player who was recently released by Scottish League One side, Dunfermline.
Peter Hutton was delighted to see Dooley get 45 minutes under his belt for the first time this season as he continues his recovery from a back injury sustained in pre-season training.
The Portstewart man looked sharp on the right wing and he netted the third goal with a confident strike low into the far corner of the Greencastle net right on the stroke of half-time.
Derry boss, Hutton believes Dooley will be like a ‘new signing’ for his side as they attempt to begin their ascent of the Premier Division table after the mid-season interval.
However, he did admit next Friday’s home clash with Cork may come too soon for Dooley.
“There’s a lot of positives from the game and obviously Stephen Dooley got 45 minutes which I’m delighted about,” said Hutton. “Hopefully now there’s no adverse reaction. And one or two others got minutes under the belts to build up their fitness but it was a good workout for us.
“He’ll (Dooley) be like a new signing for us,” he added.
“It was good to get the boys going again after the week off. It is a fantastic set-up down here and full credit to Greencastle. I know they have had a good season winning the double. So it was a good test for the boys and they enjoyed it.”
There’s a lot of positives from the game and obviously Stephen Dooley got 45 minutes which I’m delighted about.Peter Hutton
Looking refreshed after a week long break, Derry didn’t take long to get into their stride and Lowry broke the deadlock after just 12 minutes when he drilled his shot low and hard into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the box.
McNamee added a second on 21 minutes when the Ramelton man curled his free-kick superbly into the net from the 18 yard line giving Greencastle keeper, JP O’Doherty no chance.
Dooley then got into the action just before the half-time interval when Lowry found him lurking in space on the edge of the box and he took a touch before finding the far corner of the net with a composed finish.
Hutton made sweeping changes after the break with Patrick McEleney, Mark Timlin, Seanan Clucas, Ryan Curran and Ronan Curtis all getting a much needed run-out.
And 15 minutes after the restart Derry added a fourth and final goal when Curran swivelled 12 yards from goal before burying his left-footed strike low into the net.
Derry City: G. Doherty; S. Kelly, Shane McEleney, A. Barry, D. Jarvis; S. Dooley, B. McNamee, P. Lowry, P. George’ G. Kelly, C. Morrison; Subs; M. Timlin, P. McEleney, S. Clucas, R. Curran, R. Curtis, C. Harkin.