Rovers ease into semis as Candystripes woes continue

Derry's Shane McEleney and Shamrock Rovers Gareth McCaffrey.'' Photo Lorcan Doherty /
Derry's Shane McEleney and Shamrock Rovers Gareth McCaffrey.'' Photo Lorcan Doherty /


Shamrock Rovers eased into the semi-finals of the EA SPORTS Cup at the Brandywell on Tuesday night.

A first-half free-kick from Sean O’Connor was enough to claim a 1-0 win for last season’s beaten finalists.

Pat Fenlon’s youngsters really should have ended the game as a contest well before the final whistle.

Having made no fewer than 10 changes from last weekend’s league game, Rovers’ young guns started brightly with Derry’s young reserve keeper Shaun Patton fully alert when making early saves from Gareth McCaffrey and Gavin Cornwall.

The enthusiastic visitors deservedly broke the deadlock in the 34th minute following a free-kick after Barry McNamee had brought Sean McCabe crashing down to earth.

Up stepped O’Connor who from 25 yards curled the ball high into the top corner giving Patton no chance.

The Candystripes may have upped the tempo after the break and Barry McNamee threatened with a shot which was comfortably saved by keeper Craig Hyland after 55 minutes.

However, in the 63rd minute Rovers really should have doubled their lead after Derry lost possession in the centre of the park.

Ryan Brennan was sent racing clear into a one-on-on situation but keeper Patton stood up well to make a superb save and keep his side in the game.

And 15 minutes from the end, the home side really should have levelled matters.

Timlin floated another corner into the danger area and when the ball broke to a well placed substitute Ryan Curran, however his shot lacked conviction as Rovers’ defenders crowded him out before the ball was cleared off the goal-line.

Derry City - Patton; Sharkey, McBride (Curran, h/t), McEleney, Barry; Timlin, Houston (Elding, 72), Clucas, McNamee, Jarvis; Morrison (Kelly, 81).

Shamrock Rovers - Hyland; Clancy, Cornwall, Webster, D. O’Connor; McCabe, R. Brennan; S. O’Connor, C. Kavanagh (Miele, 64), Waters; McCaffrey (D. Kavanagh, 68).

Referee - R. Harvey (Dublin).