Derry City progress to the quarter-finals of the F.A.I. Ford Cup after beating U.C.D. 1-0 at the Belfield Bowl on Friday evening.
Friday’s victory over U.C.D. also saw the Candy Stripes secure their third clean sheet of the last seven days. And with City having managed to string together some decent results, team boss Declan Devine will be hoping that this recent good run will continue when they take on Shelbourne in Tolka Park next Friday.
A late goal from Derry striker David McDaid gave Devine’s men the victory they craved in this Cup challenge. They will find out on Monday evening who they face in the quarter-finals when the draw is made after the third round tie between Waterford United and Mervue United.
City survived early scares when UCD had two early chances to take the lead.
David McMillan saw his overhead kick effort travel just wide of the post and then minutes later a Robbie Benson header went narrowly wide of the upright.
The Foylesiders should have taken the lead just before half-time when midfielder Ruaidhri Higgins released Stephen McLaughlin on the left. McLaughlin found space and whipped in a low cross into the UCD box which was almost reached by City’s attack-minded full-back Simon Madden. Had the former Dundalk defender connected it would have almost certainly resulted in a goal.
The Students almost took the lead in the 55th minute when good inter-play between McMillan and Paul Connor provided them with a great chance in front of goal. However, despite being in a fantastic position to score, Tyrone McNelis fired wide.
Derry’s Scottish defender Stewart Greacen must have thought he’d scored minutes later when he connected with a Simon Madden corner from the right. Madden’s delivery was inch perfect but somehow the towering Scot managed to put his effort wide.
However the Candy Stripes took the lead in the 72nd when another corner from Simon Madden caused havoc in the UCD area. Madden’s corner was fisted away tamely by Mark McGinley and after a poor defensive header from Tomas Boyle, David McDaid pounced to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
UCD went close to snatching an equaliser in the 80th minute when second half substitute Chris Lyons had a shot blocked by Derry ‘keeper Gerard Doherty. The ball then rebounded to McMillan but the best he could do was fire over the crossbar.
Derry finished the game with ten men when Stewart Greacen - to the fore since his return last weekend - was sent off in the 88th minute after picking up his second yellow card of the game.
Friday’s victory will be a welcome one for Devine. The fact that Derry have not contested an FAI Cup final since 2008 will perhaps make his players all the more eager to emerge victorious from their quarter-final fixture, which is due to be played in just under three weeks time.
Next up for Derry City is an away trip next Friday to Tolka Park, where they will take on Shelbourne in the Airtricity Premier Division - kick-off 8p.m.
U.C.D.: Mark McGinley; Hugh Douglas, Tomas Boyle, Mick Leahy, Ciaran Nangle; Gary Burke (James Kavanagh 78), Barry McCabe (Daniel Ledwith 78), Paul O’Conor, Tyrone McNelis (Chris Lyons 62); Robbie Benson, David McMillan.
Subs not used: Ger Barron, Stephen Doyle, Dean Clarke.
DERRY CITY: Ger Doherty; Barry McNamee, Stewart Greacen, Shane McEleney, Simon Madden; Owen Morrison (Ryan Curran 92’), Ryan McBride (Patrick McEleney 45’), Ruaidhri Higgins, Barry Molloy, Stephen McLaughlin; David McDaid
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Matthew Henry, Matthew Rooney.
REFEREE: Mr. Anthony Buttimer (Cork).