First half goals from Barry McNamee and Rory Patterson and a late strike from Ben Doherty ensured that Derry City recorded a comfortable victory over Limerick FC at Maginn Park.
The defeat leaves Limerick in seventh place and just two points ahead of ninth place St.Patricks Athletic, albeit with a game less played than the Inchicore outfit. The win moves Derry five points clear of fourth place Shamrock Rovers, their nearest challengers for a European place.
Limerick made a disastrous start to the game when an under hit back-pass from David O’Connor allowed Barry McNamee to intercept and round goalkeeper Brendan Clarke before slotting the ball into the empty net. Soon after, the visitors were 2-0 down as neat build up play from Derry resulted in a pull-back to Rory Patterson, who slotted the ball home from 20 yards.
Midway through the first-half, Brendan Clarke produced a superb save to deny Ronan Curtis as Derry piled on the pressure to end the game as a contest. Limerick’s first chance was a speculative attempted lob by Stephen Kenny which went wide of Ger Doherty’s goal. On the half hour mark, the impressive Aaron McEneff tried his luck from distance but Clarke got down quickly to save.
Derry dominated possession in the second-half as Limerick struggled to cope with McNamee and the attacking prowess of full-backs Dean Jarvis and Conor McDermott. It was the former who drove through the heart of the Limerick midfield before seeing his effort blocked. Lukasz Schubert got in behind Dave O’Connor before picking out Rory Patterson, whose effort travelled over the bar.
Limerick’s misery was complete in the final minute of the game as a deep cross was miskicked by right-back Dean Clarke, allowing substitute Ben Doherty to steer the ball into the net.
Derry City: Ger Doherty, Conor McDermott, Aaron Barry, Darren Cole, Dean Jarvis, Nicky Low (Rory Holden 88), Aaron McEneff, Barry McNamee, Lukasz Schubert(Nathan Boyle 81), Ronan Curtis (Ben Doherty 81), Rory Patterson
Subs not used: Eric Grimes, Joshua Daniels, Harry Monaghan, Eoin Toal.
Limerick FC: Brendan Clarke, Dean Clarke, Tony Whitehead, Joe Crowe, Dave O’Connor, Shane Duggan, Lee-J Lynch, Stephen, Kenny (Colm Walsh O’Loughlin 90) Henry Cameron (Bastien Hery 58), Rodrigo Tosi (John O’Flynn 58), Chiedozie Ogbene
Subs not used: Freddy Hall, Shane Tracy, Killian Brouder, Garbhan Coughlan.
Referee: Damien McGraith