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Cian Kavanagh makes instant impact to keep Derry in title hunt

Candystripes’ 1-0 win against St Patrick’s Athletic takes them back to within two points of leaders Shamrock Rovers.

Derry City players celebrate.
Derry City players celebrate.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

St Patrick’s Athletic 0
Derry City 1

Brendan Graham reports from Richmond Park

A STUNNING GOAL from former St Patrick’s Athletic man Cian Kavanagh saw Derry City take all three points in a narrow 1-0 victory in front of a packed Inchicore crowd.

The celebrations and noise from the Derry fans at the final whistle told you everything you needed to know about what that result meant for the visitors as the Candystripes move to within touching distance of Shamrock Rovers at the top of the table once more.

With just two minutes on the clock Michael Duffy’s trickery and pace almost caught Barry Cotter napping in defence.

An inch-perfect ball down the line from Ciaran Coll fell straight to the feet of Duffy. He showed blistering pace to ease past Cotter and on towards the edge of the box before flashing a ball right across the face of goal.

Jamie McGonigle was the target but was inches away from the touch it needed. Warning signs from the visitors.

With difficult conditions and a howling wind, the home fans had to be content with watching their side defend for much of the early stages, with Derry and Duffy putting the Pat’s defence under huge pressure.

But the hosts should have broken the deadlock on 15 minutes, only to be denied by a heroic double save from Ireland U21 goalkeeper Brian Maher.

A fortunate deflection off the back of Coll fell kindly for Sam Curtis close to goal, who swung an effort on target. Maher, at full stretch, pulled off an acrobatic last ditch save before smothering himself over the ball and gathering at the second attempt to somehow keep his goal intact.

As the first half progressed the home side did start to settle into the game more in midfield but struggled to find the quality of service in the final third that the isolated Eoin Doyle was after.

Despite enjoying most of the ball in the opening half Derry’s chances were poor, with both Duffy and McGonigle wasteful close to goal.

Mark Connolly had a brilliant chance to give Derry the lead just minutes into the second half, only to be denied by the quick-thinking Rogers in the Pats goal. He then pulled off an excellent save to avert the danger and keep the game scoreless. Connolly was dismayed at the awarding of a goal kick when Rogers had clearly saved brilliantly to put the ball out for a corner.

Moments later and it was Eoin Doyle’s chance to grab the headlines. Redmond’s in swinger looked destined for the head of Doyle but the Pat’s striker hesitated ever so slightly at the last minute with the on-rushing Maher in his sights with the ball zipping across the pitch and out of play.

Chris Forrester had been unusually quiet in the first half but that is when he can be his most dangerous. The St Pats winger showed quick feet to turn into the box before forcing Brian Maher into an acrobatic save pushing the ball onto the bar and away from danger.

With the chances coming thick and fast for both sides a goal seemed inevitable, and come it did with 20 minutes remaining for Derry City courtesy of super sub Kavanagh with a sublime strike.

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The former St Pats player was only on the pitch a matter of minutes when he picked the loose ball up close to the edge of the box before shrugging off the presence of Joe Redmond and rifling an unstoppable shot right into the corner of the net.

Chris Forrester and Ryan Graydon were both sent off in the final minutes in a frustrating conclusion for both sides. Both players had words with each other following a coming together between Graydon and Tom Grivosti. Their remonstrating together earned them both swift yellow cards and they
weren’t done yet.

Once the game restarted moments later they both went looking for each other again and at this stage, with the game into the dying seconds of injury time, the referee had enough, sending both off.

The win for Derry takes them back to within two points of leaders Shamrock Rovers as the title race hots up nicely.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Danny Rogers; Joe Redmond, Sam Curtis, Tom Grivosti, Harry Brockbank (Billy King 73); Chris
Forrester, Barry Cotter, Serge Atakayi (Mark Doyle 58), Jamie Lennon, Adam O’Reilly; Eoin Doyle (Tunde Owolabi 79).

Derry City: Brian Maher; Cameron Dummigan, Ciaran Coll, Mark Connolly, Ronan Boyce, Cameron McJannet; Michael Duffy, Will Patching (Danny Lafferty 86), Sadou Diallo (Joe Thomson 68), Patrick McEleney (Ryan Graydon 46); Jamie McGonigle (Cian Kavanagh 68).

About the author:

Brendan Graham

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