Limerick 0-1 Derry City
DERRY CITY managed to get back to winning ways following a lack lustre victory at lowly Limerick.
Ronan Hale’s first half strike was enough for the Brandywell men to claim their first league success since July.
The 1-0 result also secured City’s 400th clean sheet in the League of Ireland Premier Division and although the score-line suggest a tight game, this wasn’t the case as in end Kenny Shiels’ side should have won by a bigger margin, if they had have taken their first half opportunities.
City defender Darren Cole was making his 50th appearance for the Candy Stripes, as they went in search of their first success since their EA Sports Cup final over Cobh Ramblers.
While midfielder Nicky Low was given his first start in 20 games and his composure certainly helped the visitors.
The Brandywell men were in total control in the opening 45 minutes, with Limerick already looking like a side who are relegated, in fact the lack of atmosphere at Market’s Field summed up how dire a situation they are in.
The only disappointing aspect to City's win was their poor second half showing, which would have came back to haunt them against a better team, than second from bottom Limerick, who never really tested goalkeeper Gerard Doherty all night.
Derry should have taken the lead on six minutes as Ben Fisk slipped in Hale, but after beating the offside trap the young striker saw his close range drive well saved by out-rushing Limerick keeper Tommy Holland.
Minutes later Holland was called into action again when Fisk’s powerful 20 yard strike was superbly parried away by the Limerick keeper.
Soon after a clever turn by Hale saw him skip away from defender Killian Cantwell, before seeing his stinging drive kept out by Holland.
Derry deservedly took the lead on 24 minutes as Dean Shiels’ inch perfect pass released Hale, who this time made no mistake, firing low into the net with his weaker left foot.
A half-time dressing down by Tommy Barrett seemed to do the trick for Limerick, as they started the second half on the front foot and should have levelled things on 50 minutes.
Left-back Shane Tracy saw his centre to the back post find Karl O’Sullivan, but the youngster fired over with the goal at his mercy.
Soon after clever back flick by Aaron McEneff found Fisk, but the midfielder’s long range strike was deflected wide by a diving Cantwell.
Just before the hour mark a Tracy free-kick from 25 yards was superbly tipped over by a fully stretched Doherty.
Despite the poor second half showing by Derry, the were also in control with Doherty not really having too much to do after Tracy's effort.
Limerick: Holland, Kelly, Cantwell, Coleman (Morrissey 85), Duggan, Tracy, Fitzgerald, O’Sullivan (Dennehy 78), Murphy, Kennedy, Maguire.
Derry City: Doherty, McDonagh, Toal, Cole, Seaborne; Low (Delap 77), Splaine, McEneff; Shiels, Hale, Fisk.
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).