Derry have the force as Rory nets winner

Derry City manager Declan Devine savours victory after his side beat Limerick 2-1. Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography

Derry City manager Declan Devine savours victory after his side beat Limerick 2-1. Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography

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Yesterday may have been ‘Star Wars Day’ but Derry City performed an early Jedi mind trick on Limerick F.C. when they scored two late goals to claim victory at the Brandywell on Friday evening.

May 4 (as in ‘may the force’) a line made famous by the Stars Wars films was certainly the mantra of the night as the force was well and truly with Derry. There was no sign of Darth Vader or the evil Emperor but replacing hero Han Solo was Derry City striker, Rory Patterson.

The Candy Stripes trailed Stuart Taylor’s Limerick from the 28th minute until Marc Griffin scored with a stinging drive in the 86th minute but Griffin’s goal was to offer ‘A New Hope’ then Patterson’s winning strike was Derry well and truly striking back.

“Limerick sat in and invited us to try and break them down at the end and I am delighted we were able to do so,” said a happy Derry City boss, Declan Devine, moments after the game.

“I was disappointed with our first half performance but I thought we bossed the game after half time. We passed the ball with more urgency and I think the tactical change to go three at the back, to put extra bodies forward, really paid off.”

Friday’s win over Limerick sees Derry surge to the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division. With current league champions Sligo Rovers only managing a 1-1 draw with Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght the Candy Stripes and Sligo are both on 26 points but Derry take the top spot because of a superior goal difference.

Despite the elation and to a certain extent relief that came with the dramatic win over Limerick, Derry City have no time to rest on their laurels.

Tomorrow they will travel to the Showgrounds in Sligo where a top of the table clash with Ian Baraclough’s men awaits them.

“I am delighted for Marc Griffin and Rory Patterson tonight. They reason I am so happy for Marc is because it proves how you need a really good squad. Marc might not have played as many games as he would have liked but he came in tonight and asked questions of them with his pace and strength.

“We worked really hard in the second half and I honestly believe we deserved all three points.

“I see every match we play as a big game. You get the same number of points if you beat Sligo Rovers as we did when we beat Limerick F.C. tonight so that’s why every game is a big game.

“It’s a top of the table clash and it’s a North West derby but nothing will be won or lost down there [Showgrounds - Sligo] on Monday but believe me, we are going there to try and win,” he insisted.

After the gameLimerick boss Stuart Taylor couldn’t hide his frustration at Derry’s winner. The Scot clearly believed Patterson was offside but Devine replied by saying he had a problem with Steve Folan’s opener in the 28th minute.

“I was very disappointed with their goal because there was a lot of pushing in the corner and whilst it’s easy to be disappointed with the goals you concede I am happy with the goals we are scoring. But listen, if it is offside I think we’ve earned it by being brave and giving it our all,” said Devine.

For full coverage of Sligo Rovers vs. Derry City see Tuesday’s Journal or visit www.derryjournal.com