Limerick FC suffered a disappointing defeat at the Markets Field on Monday evening as Derry City ran out 0-3 victors thanks to a first half Rory Patterson goal and a brace from Aaron McEneff sealed the win for the Candystripes.
Limerick made a bright start as Karl O’Sullivan delivered a cross from the right and the onrushing Shane Duggan fired over from 12 yards when he should have hit the target.
Derry created their first chance when a deep cross from Jamie McDonagh found the head of Ronan Curtis who’s cushioned header to Darren Cole was placed over the bar by the right-back. Immediately, Limerick striker Danny Morrissey beat the Derry offside trap following a ball from Conor Clifford, but under growing pressure the front man dragged a weak effort wide.
The sides continued to trade chances as Aaron McEneff drilled a free-kick straight at Brendan Clarke who was aided by a deflection which took the sting out of the shot.
The Candystripes created the next chance as Ronan Curtis miscued a shot which found Rory Patterson at the back post but his effort was well saved by Clarke.
On the stroke of half-time, the visitors took the lead as Rory Hale fed Rory Patterson with a superb reverse ball which caught out the Limerick defence and Patterson dinked the ball over the advancing Clarke.
Kenny Shiels’ team had the first chance of the second half as a strong run from right winger Jamie McDonagh resulted in a low cross towards Rory Patterson but the goal scorer failed to connect cleanly with the ball which drifted harmlessly into the grateful arms of Clarke in the Limerick goal.
Shortly afterwards, the home side should have been level as winger Karl O’Sullivan turned Jack Doyle inside out before picking out Danny Morrissey at the back post but Morrissey couldn’t convert with his outstretched leg.
Entering the final quarter, Derry had two chances in quick succession as Patterson forced a save from Clarke and Nicky Low followed up with a shot which travelled wide of the left hand post.
Jamie McDonagh’s strike forced Clarke into another save and substitute Ronan Hale was unable to convert the rebound. McDonagh was instrumental for Derry in the second period and he was released by Ronan Hale before blasting the ball just over the crossbar.
The Shannonsiders had a golden opportunity to equalise with ten minutes remaining as Mark O’Sullivan managed to fire his effort over the bar from 8 yards having been teed up by strike partner Danny Morrissey.
Just one minute later, Limerick were punished for failing to take their chance as Aaron McEneff picked up possession in the box and his ferocious strike beat Clarke.
Limerick’s dismal second half was complete when Killian Brouder fouled Aaron McEneff in the box and Derry were awarded a penalty which McEneff duly dispatched.
Limerick drop one place to ninth place due to Sligo Rovers victory over Bray Wanderers. They remain level on points with Bohemians. The next fixture for the Super Blues is a tough trip away to Cork City at Turners Cross.
Limerick FC: Brendan Clarke, Killian Cantwell, Tony Whitehead, Killian Brouder, Alan Murphy (Mark O’Sullivan 71), Eoin Wearen (Barry Maguire 82), Conor Clifford, Shane Duggan, Will Fitzgerald, Karl O’Sullivan Danny Morrissey.
Subs not used: Tommy Holland, Colm Walsh O’Loughlin, Henry Cameron, Ger Barry, Jeff McGowan
Red Cards: None
Derry City: Ger Doherty, Eoin Toal, Gavin Peers, Darren Cole (Conor McDermott 64), Jack Doyle, Nicky Low, Aaron McEneff, Rory Hale (Ben Doherty 86), Jamie McDonagh, Ronan Curtis (Ronan Hale 76), Rory Patterson.
Subs not used: Eric Grimes, Cathal Farren, John Cofie, Ronan Hale.
Yellow Cards: Rory Hale (61)
Red Cards: None
Referee: Graham Kelly