Declan Devine makes winning return to Brandywell as Derry City open with victory

David Parkhouse celebrates with Ciaron Harkin after scoring Derry City's first goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Derry City and UCD at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium
David Parkhouse celebrates with Ciaron Harkin after scoring Derry City's first goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Derry City and UCD at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium

Derry City 3, UCD 0

DECLAN Devine kicked off his second stint as Derry City boss with a comfortable opening day victory over UCD at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

After a shaky start by the hosts, Sheffield United loanee, David Parkhouse settled the nerves with a expertly taken close range finish on 21 minutes.

A terrific 40 yard lob from ex-Bohs striker, Eoghan Stokes was bundled into his own net by UCD keeper, Conor Kearns on 58 minutes after Josh Collins attempted to clear.

And Stokes marked his debut on 66 minutes when he got onto the end of the impressive Ciaron Harkin's pass and found the net from eight yards.

It was an unrecognisable Derry City starting XI compared with the team which finished the 2018 campaign with a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of St Pat's with just Darren Cole and Eoin Toal remaining.

Goalkeeper, Peter Cherrie, Josh Kerr, Eoghan Stokes, Greg Sloggett, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and Parkhouse were all handed debuts while Harkin, Barry McNamee and Patrick McClean made returns since their respective spells at Coleraine, Cork and Sligo Rovers.

There was no place, however, for former Institute striker, Michael McCrudden who completed his move to Brandywell at the final hour while Conor McDermott (hip) was also sidelined.

UCD boss, Colin O'Neill handed 18 year-old Richie O'Farrell his senior debut in the middle of the Students' midfield as the Belfield men made a first return to the top flight since 2014.

There was an early scare for the home side after three minutes as Cole was dispossessed by Conor Davis who worked the ball into box, and when it eventually came to Timmy Molloy the striker blasted high over the bar.

The Candystripes settled into the game and the lively Stokes had a decent effort from distance saved comfortably by Conor Kearns on 11 minutes.

Derry broke the deadlock on 21 minutes following a neat move involving Ogedi-Uzokwe and Harkin with the latter finding Parkhouse who steered the ball into the corner.

And the striker almost added a second 60 seconds later from Ogedi-Uzokwe's cross but headed narrowly over at the back post.

City skipper, McNamee tried his luck from the halfway line two minutes before the break after spotting Kearns off his line but the back-peddling UCD keeper, was alert to the danger.

The hosts made a bright start to the second half and when Parkhouse played the ball back into the path of McClean just inside the 18 yard box, Kearns parried it away from goal.

Parkhouse reacted quickest but again Kearns saved at close range before diving bravely to gather at the feet of Harkin.

UCD were still well in the contest and Davis did superbly on 57 minutes to turn his man before sending his powerful 25 yards drive just past the post.

Kearns raced out to cut out McNamee's defence splitting pass on 58 minutes but his clearance fell to Stoke whose audacious lob from 40 yards was headed against the UCD goalkeeper by Josh Collins and it nestled into the net,.

Derry began to turn on the style and when a UCD clearance fell to Harkin, the diminutive midfielder slotted superbly into the path of Stoke and his deflected shot found the net on 66 minutes.

Substitute, Adrian Delap was denied by a point blank save from Kearns in the final minute and the Donegal man had another effort following a driving run deflected wide. However, it mattered little as the Candystripes made a winning start to the 2019 campaign.

Derry City: P. Cherrie; D. Cole, E. Toal, J. Kerr, P. McClean; E. Stokes (J. McDonagh 72), C. Harkin, G. Sloggett, J. Ogedi-Uzokwe (A. Delap 85); B. McNamee (G. Bruna 84); D. Parkhouse; Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, C. Coll, S. McNamee, A. Gilchrist.

UCD: C. Kearns; D. Tobin, J. Collins, M. Dignam, L. Scales; J. McClelland, G. O'Neill, R. O'Farrell (K. Coffey 72), N. Furrugia T. Molloy, C. Davis (Y. Mahdy,80); Subs Not Used - T. Murphy, C. Crowley, S. McDonald, L. Boore,D. Corcoran.

Referee - John McLoughlin.