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Derry City on the verge of European football after Sligo win

Goals from Jamie McDonagh and Barry McNamee turned the game around.

Derry City look set to secure European football.
Derry City look set to secure European football.
Image: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Sligo Rovers 1

Derry City 2

Jessica Farry reports from The Showgrounds

A DRAW AGAINST St Patrick’s Athletic on Tuesday will be enough for Derry City to confirm European football in 2020 following a 2-1 defeat of Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds.

The hosts took the lead on 13 minutes through Lewis Banks, but goals from Jamie McDonagh and Barry McNamee turned the game around, earning the Candystripes all three points.

Derry travelled to The Showgrounds knowing that a win against sixth place Sligo would mean that they would need just one point against Pat’s on Tuesday, while a draw tonight would mean that three points against the Saints would also seal their place in the Europa League draw.

Liam Buckley’s side could not move any higher than sixth, and Finn Harps’ victory over Waterford on Friday night means that the Blues remain two points behind Rovers.

The visitors were first to threaten, with Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe’s shot well saved by Ed McGinty in the Sligo goals.

Rovers had not scored against the Candystripes in their three meetings all season, until the 13th minute, when Ronan Coughlan flew down the left, before pulling it back to play in David Cawley. The Mayo man set it up nicely for Banks, with the former Stoke U23 captain slotting it past Peter Cherrie to give the hosts the lead.

Jamie McDonagh, who spent the latter half of 2017 with the Bit O’Red, clipped the crossbar on 20 minutes, before he finally levelled the scoring. The ball broke to the 23-year-old on the edge of the box, and his volley crashed past McGinty.

David Parkhouse almost put Declan Devine’s men ahead just a couple of minutes later, but an outstanding tackle from John Mahon intercepted his run forward.

Three minutes before half-time, the visitors went ahead with a somewhat strange goal. Ed McGinty’s attempted clearance hit straight off McNamee and into the back of the net, although the Derry captain somehow managed to guide it into the net.

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The hosts enjoyed a more positive second-half, but still struggled to threaten Derry’s lead.

Daryl Fordyce’s tame header was well gathered by Cherrie, while half chances for the visitors went amiss in a second half that offered up very little by means of entertainment.

With two games left, Declan Devine’s side have it all to play for, as they currently sit five points clear of the Saints.

The Bit O’Red will be hoping that they can make sure of a sixth-place finish next Friday, when they travel to Dalymount Park to take on Bohs in their final game of the season.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Danny Kane (Sam Warde, 88), Kyle Callan-McFadden, John Mahon, Lewis Banks; Kris Twardek, Niall Morahan, David Cawley (Johnny Dunleavy, 79), Daryl Fordyce, Regan Donelon (Brian Morley, 84) ;Ronan Coughlan.

Derry City: Peter Cherrie; Grant Gillespie, Eoin Toal, Ally Gilchrist, Ciaran Coll; Jamie McDonagh, Ciaron Harkin, Gregg Sloggett, Barry McNamee (Michael McCrudden, 90+2); Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Aidy Delap, 90+4), David Parkhouse (Darren McCauley, 89).

Referee: Paul Tuite.

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About the author:

Jessica Farry

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