Tallaght drama as Derry come from two down to snatch draw against Rovers

Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe got the visitors’ equaliser seven minutes from time.

Honours even: Dan Carr and Jamie McDonagh tussle in Tallaght.
Honours even: Dan Carr and Jamie McDonagh tussle in Tallaght.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 2-2 Derry City

Darryl Geraghty reports from Tallaght Stadium

DERRY CITY CAME from two goals down to snatch an excellent point against high-flying Shamrock Rovers in an enthralling, open game in which either team could have claimed all three points.

With some of Friday night’s Irish international heroes in attendance including Ronan Curtis, James McClean and man of the moment Shane Duffy, second played host to fourth in the glorious sunshine at Tallaght Stadium.

The first big chance of the game came from the visitors after some neat build-up play down the right. Junior found himself with acres of space on the wing, getting to the end line but his cross had too much pace and was at an awkward height for Barry McNamee who couldn’t direct his header on target.

Rovers responded well, and maybe should have taken the lead themselves shortly afterwards. Greg Bolger’s long raking pass freed Dan Carr down the left wing, and his low cross to the front post was met by Aaron Greene who just couldn’t sort out his feet in time.

The game really began to come to life now and it was the hosts who looked more like breaking the deadlock. Greene had a number of chances to put his side ahead in the first half, including a free header from four yards out following a Jack Byrne corner, but just couldn’t find that magic touch.

The Candystripes showed some real grit and determination to weather the storm with the brave Josh Kerr putting his body on the line and making last-itch challenges to deny the Rovers threat.

The second half exploded into life with three goals in just 12 minutes. Rovers took the lead seven minutes into the second half from a blistering counter attack as the pressure finally told. Greene was set free down the right and did well to cut in on his left foot and switch the play to pick out Clarke. The wing back had the freedom of the park to settle himself and hammer home for his first of the season.

Before Derry knew what had hit them they were two down as Jack Byrne struck a beautiful right-footed effort from 25 yards out into the bottom left-hand corner as Declan Devine’s men just backed off.

It was raining goals now as just minutes later Derry gave themselves a lifeline through Ciaran Coll’s well-directed header from McNamee’s clipped cross.

Coll should have done better with a left-footed strike after substitute Eoghan Stokes teed him up nicely on the edge of the area. The left back really should have tested Alan Mannus but dragged his shot wide of the near post as the visitors showed they weren’t giving up without a fight.

Incredibly, with just seven minutes remaining, Derry deservedly got themselves back on level terms. Greg Sloggett rose highest to meet a deep cross and power his header downwards, only to see Mannus pull off a great save. But the Hoops keeper couldn’t hold onto it and it was Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe who reacted quickest to bundle home.

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SHAMROCK ROVERS: Alan Mannus, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Greg Bolger, Ronan Finn (c), Dan Carr, Trevor Clarke, Aaron Greene (Joel Coustrain, 68), Brandon Kavanagh (Sean Kavanagh, 45), Joey O’Brien, Jack Byrne (Ethan Boyle, 79).

DERRY CITY: Peter Cherrie, Ciaran Coll, Ciaron Harkin (Aidy Delap, 77), Gregg Sloggett, Jamie McDonagh, Gerardo Bruna, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, Eoin Toal, Barry McNamee (c), Josh Kerr (Ally Gilchrist, 79), David Parkhouse (Eoghan Stokes, 64).

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