Youthful ‘Candy Stripes’ cruise into last eight

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DERRY City striker, David McDaid, celebrated his 50th competitive appearance with the opening goal as the ‘Candy Stripes’ progressed in the EA Sports League Cup against Mervue United at the Brandywell yesterday.

ARTHUR DUFFY reports

Photographs: Joe Boland

The diminutive hitman settled the nerves of youthful “Candy Stripes” with Stephen Kenny having made no fewer than NINE changes to the squad which entertained St. Pat’s last Friday night.

McDaid won a race for possession of a loose ball with Mervue keeper, Ger Hanley, in the 6th minute and having been upended by inside the area, referee Paul Tuite immediately pointed to the spot.

McDaid dusted himself down before lashing the ball into the left-hand corner to get the home side off to an excellent start.

In truth, the game descended to a pedestrian pace afterwards with Derry owning the ball and Mervue offering very little, particularly in the front-line.

That said, the Galway side could and should have restored equality three minutes after the opening goal when their Irish Schoolboy international, John Mountney burst through the Derry defence but keeper, Eugene Ferry, did well to get down low and scoop the ball wide of his upright.

While the home side huffed and puffed on occasions in front of a very small Brandywell crowd, Derry had to wait until the 54th minute to double their lead.

And that goal was fashioned by a top quality move. Patrick McEleney delivered a cross into the penalty area, Stephen Parkhouse headed the ball down neatly into the path of the totally unmarked Michael McCrudden and the winger hammered the ball into the net for his first Derry City goal.

Derry’s ‘young guns’ continued to cruise through the proceedings with McEleney and substitute, Eddie McCallion directing shots on target while Mervue remained on the defensive.

And in their first fluent movement of the game, the visitors netted a consolation during injury time at the end of the match. Substitute, Rory Gaffney, broke on the left and his perfectly weighted centre was met by fellow substitute, Alex Lee, who gave Ferry no chance from close quarters.

Derry, therefore, moved a step closer to securing their 10th League Cup trophy having now reached the quarter-finals, but it was clear from the team-list that Kenny has bigger fish to fry.

With away trips in the league to Bohemians this Friday night followed by a May Day date with Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds, the Brandywell boss refused to take risks with his first team squad.

Indeed, Patrick and Shane McEleney were the only two players who started against St. Pat’s and while the substitutes’ bench was particularly strong, Eddie McCallion, Eamon Zayed and Danny Lafferty were used sparingly during the final 20 minutes.

However, he will have been content with the overall performance as his youngsters never looked to be in serious difficulty in a contest that appeared so one-sided.

Derry City – 4-4-1-1 – Ferry; S. McEleney (McCallion, 70), R. McBride, Friars (Lafferty, 87), McMonagle; P. McEleney, Henry, T. McBride, McCrudden; Parkhouse (Zayed, 77); McDaid.

Mervue United – 4-5-1 – Hanley; Casserley, Browne, Conneely, Cunningham; Goldbey (Lee, 65), O’Brien, Mountney, King (Gaffney, 64), Crehan; Molloy.

Referee – Mr. P. Tuite (Dublin).