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Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Evan Logan/INPHO Derry City's Jamie McGonigle celebrates scoring a goal with teammates and fans.
# Upset
Sensational last-gasp goal sees Derry defeat reigning champions Shamrock Rovers
Jamie McGonigle scored a brilliant winner to send the home fans home happy.

Derry City 2

Shamrock Rovers 1

Simon Collins reports from the Ryan McBride Brandywell

JAMIE MCGONIGLE’S sensational 95th-minute strike handed Derry City victory over Shamrock Rovers to reinforce the Brandywell club’s early-season title credentials.

The Dungiven man who opened his account for the season in the 2-2 draw against Dundalk produced a stunning individual effort right at the death to send out a statement to the reigning champions.

Man of the match Will Patching had given Derry a 56th-minute lead from the penalty spot but substitute Dylan Watts pegged the home side back with a terrific free-kick from the edge of the box.

With five minutes of stoppage time signalled, McGonigle did brilliantly to win the ball from Roberto Lopes before racing towards goal and firing the ball into the top corner to send a sold-out Brandywell into raptures.

Rovers were gifted an early chance with two minutes on the clock as Cameron Dummigan’s wayward back pass was intercepted by Rory Gaffney who found Danny Mandroiu just inside the penalty area but he fired over the crossbar to spare the Lurgan man’s blushes.

Derry responded well and from a throw-in, Joe Thomson played Brandon Kavanagh into space but his first-time strike with the outside of his boot was gathered cleanly by Alan Mannus.

Patching went down under pressure from Lee Grace inside the Rovers six-yard box but referee Rob Hennessy pointed for a corner kick.

Kavanagh swung it in from the right towards the back post where City skipper Eoin Toal made a promising run but powered his header wide of the mark on 10 minutes.

Jack Byrne found the run of Gaffney in behind Toal with a lovely pass over the top and with just the keeper to beat at the near post the Rovers striker was denied by Brian Maher, who produced a superb save with his outstretched hand.

At the other end, Daniel Lafferty headed into the side netting from Kavanagh’s inswinging corner kick as the home side looked dangerous from set-pieces but the game remained finely balanced.

Kavanagh sliced open the Rovers defence with a searching pass into the path of McGonigle but Lopes read the danger and managed to block the shot.

The lively Kavanagh then dispossessed Sean Hoare inside the Rovers half before feeding McGonigle, who broke at pace but the striker dragged his shot wide when he had options either side.

Moments later, Patching did superbly to get past his man before floating the ball across the face of the goal but James Akintunde couldn’t get that vital touch.

Two minutes before the break a flash of brilliance from Mandroiu forced a smart save from Maher who turned the Rovers midfielder’s sweetly struck bicycle kick around the post.

The Derry ‘keeper was certainly the busier of the two during the first half, notably those saves from Gaffney and Mandriou, but the teams went in level at the break.

The hosts were playing into a strong crossfield wind in the second half and Higgins made an early change with Patrick McEleney coming off the bench to replace Akintunde.

It wasn’t long before Derry were in front. Patching’s clever free-kick found the run of Kavanagh who peeled off his marker before finding the feet of McGonigle. The City striker was then barged off the ball by Byrne and the referee pointed to the spot.

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Up stepped Patching who sent Mannus the wrong way as he coolly found the corner of the net from 12 yards.

Stephen Bradley emptied his bench with a triple substitution as Watts, Graham Burke and Andy Lyons entered the fray on 66 minutes.

Ciaron Harkin brought down Gary O’Neill on the edge of the Derry penalty area and Watts curled it into the corner of the net to level the game on 73 minutes.

The fourth official signalled five minutes added time with Rovers seemingly in the ascendancy. However, it was the home side who took advantage as McGonigle showed strength and composure before driving the ball into the top of the net for the winning goal on a night of drama on Foyleside.

Derry City: Maher: Dummigan, Toal, McJannet, D. Lafferty; Kavanagh (S. McEleney 96), Harkin (Boyce 72), Patching, J. Thomson, McGonigle; Akintunde (P. McEleney 54): Subs Not Used – Gartside, Coll, McEleney, Storey, McLaughlin, Malone, Porter.

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Cotter (Lyons 66), Hoare, Lopes, Grace; Mandroiu (Burke 66), O’Neill, Towell (Watts 66), Byrne, Finn (Gannon 88), Gaffney (Greene 83); Subs Not Used – Pohls, Carey, Emakhu.

Referee - Rob Hennessy.

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