Derry City 1, Cork City 0
DERRY CITY teenager Ronan Curtis’ second half strike proved enough to get the Candy Stripes’ season off and running at Brandywell Stadium against 10 man Cork City.
The 19 year-old St Johnston man linked up with the superb Barry McNamee on the edge of the Cork penalty area before clinically slotting past Mark McNulty just short of the hour mark.
It was a lead richly deserved by a hugely improved Derry City side who bounced back from that disappointment on the opening day of the season against rivals Finn Harps.
Cork midfielder, Greg Bolger was then sent to the stands for a rash foul on Curtis with 10 minutes to go but Derry deservedly held off a late surge from Cork to clinch their first three points of the new campaign.
There was a poignant tribute to the late Derry City great, Mark Farren prior to kick-off as West Brom winger James McClean presented Mark’s wife Terri-Louise with a commemorative No 18 shirt after it was retired by the club.
And the estimated 2,500 attendance were on their feet on the 18th minute for a minute’s applause in memory of the club’s record goalscorer who sadly passed away last month.
Derry started the game promisingly and were gifted a glorious chance on 19 minutes when Cork defender, Alan Bennett passed the ball back to his keeper under pressure from Rory Patterson and Mark McNulty was penalised for lifting the ball.
The referee awarded an indirect free-kick six yards from the Cork goal but when Gareth McGlynn laid if off to Patterson, the striker’s shot deflected off the back of Bolger before McNulty cleaned it up.
Cork’s best chance arrived on 39 minutes when Sean Maguire raced down the left side of the penalty area and drilled the ball across the face of the Derry goalmouth but it had too much pace for the on-rushing Eoghan O’Connell at the back post.
In the final minute of first half added time, Curtis did well to pressure Bolger off the ball in the middle of the park and the winger raced towards goal. He played Barry McNamee into play on the left but the Ramelton man sliced his shot into the side netting.
Derry made an encouraging start to the second half and Conor McCormack’s powerful drive from 25 yards went narrowly over the crossbar two minutes after the restart.
The Candystripes broke the deadlock on 59 minutes when McNamee linked up superbly on the edge of the area with Curtis who raced into space before slotting clinically past McNulty.
With 10 minutes to go Cork midfielder, Bolger was shown a straight red card for hacking down Curtis in the final third.
The 10 men of Cork tried in vain for the equaliser in the final stages but John Caulfield will be hugely disappointed his side’s only shot on target arrived deep into stoppage time when Eoghan O’Connoll headed tamely into the hands of Ger Doherty from Johnny Dunleavy’s free-kick.
Derry City - G. Doherty; N. Vemmelund, R. McBride, A. Barry, D. Jarvis; C. McCormack; R. Curtis, B. McNamee, H. Monaghan, G. McGlynn (J. Daniels 72); R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - M. McElhinney, P. McClean, K. Ward, A. McEneff, N. Boyle, J. Allen.
Cork City - M. McNulty; O’Connell, Bennett,Browne, Dunleavy; Bolger, Morrissey; Turner (K. Sheppard 62), Holohan (S. Beattie 53), Dooley (Mark O’Sullivan 69); Maguire; Subs Not Used - A. Smith, C. Healy, K. O’Connor, M. McSweeney.
Referee - Derek Tomney (Dublin)