Impressive Derry too good for Galway

Derry City 2 Galway United 1

Derry City continued their rebuilding process with an impressive 2-1 victory over Sean Connor's Galway United at the Brandywell on Satyrday night.

Despite a first half equaliser from Galway's Derek O'Brien, strikes from James McLean and second half substitute Vinnie Sweeney ensured a much deserved win for the Candy Stripes.

All those fans who braved the biting cold at Brandywell did so out of curiosity. They wanted to see where and how new players like Mark Scoltock, Patrick McEleney and Emmet Friars would perform.

Curiosity aside, everyone involved with the Candy Stripes will have one eye on FAI headquarters tomorrow when they should learn if their licence application to compete in next season's League of Ireland has been granted.

Rumours that the club's licence application will be successful have been common place in recent weeks and some have even dared to suggest who Derry's first opponents of the new season will be.

If rumours are to be believed, then the old scoreboard at Brandywell - with its ominous display of the last Premier League game Derry City played against Bray Wanderers last season - may not be too wide of the mark.

Gerard Doherty started in goal for the Candy Stripes whilst Damien Cassidy and Shane McEleney started in the left back and right back positions respectively with Mark Scoltock and Mark McChrystal slotting in at the centre of defence.

The younger of the McEleney brothers, Patrick, started on the right wing while James McLean played on the left. Barry Molloy and former Charlton Athletic player Ruairi Harkin patrolled the centre of midfield.

Former Tristar Youth player, David McDaid, who scored against Institute in midweek was paired with fellow striker Mark Farren up front.

Stephen Kenny's new look squad took the lead after only 54 seconds when winger James McClean availed of clever play from David McDaid to head past Kyle Letheren.

The Tribesmen responded in the 7th minute when they took full advantage of a Mark Scoltock error just outside his own 18-yard-box.

Prehen man Scoltock appeared to completely misjudge his pass as it ended up in the path of Galway midfielder Derek O'Brien who hit the ball past Doherty from close distance.

Young Creggan midfielder, James McClean was, perhaps, the liveliest player on the pitch during the opening period. He was frequently the cause of much grief for Galway pair, Ciaran Foley and James McKenzie', throughout the half.

Just before half time, the ball fell to Patrick McEleney just outside the Galway 18-yard-box. The former Sunderland player let loose with a powerful drive but, unfortunately, his effort glanced off the back of a Galway defender and out for a corner.

Several less than savoury first half challenges threatened to turn this exhibition match into everything but a friendly.

Right on the stroke of half time, Galway striker Pablo Rodriguez was late with his challenge on Mark McChrystal, Donegal referee Stephen Tonner producing the yellow card.

Mark Farren forced a save from Galway 'keeper Letheren in the 60th minute when he connected with an impressive Patrick McEleney cross from the right. Letheren saved with ease.

Minutes later and Derry central defender Mark McChrystal found himself totally unmarked with the ball at his feet at the back post. However, the Derry man failed to control the ball which went out for a goal kick.

New Derry City signing Vinnie Sweeney scored his third goal in two matches in the 73rd minute. Sweeney netted twice against Institute on Wednesday and after replacing James McClean in the 70th minute he headed a Darren Cassidy corner into the back of the net.

Derry City manager Stephen Kenny made a triple substitution in the 79th minute. Young forward Adam Clarke replaced Mark Farren, Thomas McBride came on for Ruairi Harkin while Derry City stalwart Eddie McCallion was given his chance to impress when Kenny took off Shane McEleney.

Derry goalkeeper Gerard Doherty had his first save of the second half to make in the final seconds of the game when he smothered a free kick from Galway's Stephen O'Donnell.

Stephen Kenny will take great confidence from last night's victory but it's likely that he will not want to read too much into it.

Although Galway United look as if they will struggle against the likes of Premier Division heavyweights Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers, Derry can feel a sense of optimism from taking the scalp of a team who are likely to be in the league above them next season.

There can be no doubt that Stephen Kenny has really had to work hard in his efforts to rebuild the club. With local talent abounding throughout the team, there can be no reason why the Candy Stripes cannot bounce back from the doom and gloom of the last few months and make 2010 the year they return to pastures greener.

Derry City's next pre-season friendly is against Sporting Fingal at the Brandywell on Tuesday night. Kick-off 7.30pm.

Man of the Match: Darren Cassidy (Derry City) - the Creggan man defended well throughout and looked equally comfortable playing on the left wing as he did when playing left back in the first half. Chipped in with the assist that led to winning goal. All in all, a solid display.

Derry City (4-4-2): Gerard Doherty; Shane McEleney (Eddie McCallion 79 mins), Darren Cassidy, Mark McChrystal, Mark Scoltock; Barry Molloy, Ruairi Harkin (Thomas McBride 79 mins), James McLean (Emmet Friars 70 mins), Patrick McEleney; Mark Farren (Adam Clarke 79 mins), David McDaid (Vincent Sweeney 70 mins).

Subs not used: Rory Kelly.

Galway United (4-5-1): Kyle Letheren; Jamie McKenzie (Paul Sinnott ht), James Craney, Thomas Heary (Jamie McKenzie 66 mins), Bee Emi; Gary Curran (Shane King 58 mins), Ciaran Foley, Cian McBrien, Pablo Rodriguez (John Martin 81 mins); Stephen O'Donnell, Derek O'Brien (Gary Shaw 70 mins).

Subs not used: Karl Shepard.

Referee: Stephen Toner (Donegal).