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Match Report: Derry City 2-4 Shamrock Rovers

In a game of two halves, it was Shamrock Rovers who turned on the action with three second-half goals to return home from Derry with all three points.


Stephen Bradley's side made the trip up to Derry, having been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League 1st Qualifying Round to Slovan Bratislava during the week. Meanwhile, Derry came into this evening's fixture on the back of a disappointing 1-0 loss to St. Patrick's Athletic in Richmond Park last Friday.


Both sides were evenly matched until the twentieth minute when Derry full-back, and top-scorer, Ronan Boyce opened the scoring. Roberto Lopes' attempted clearance was blocked down by Junior, and Junior's cross found Boyce at the back-post who calmly slotted beyond Mannus in the Rovers goal to give the hosts the lead.


Things went from bad to worse for Stephen Bradley's side just ten minutes later, when Lopes was adjudged to have fouled a Derry City attacker from a corner-kick delivery, and referee Rob Hennessey pointed straight to the penalty spot. Up stepped Junior and he slotted beyond Mannus - who couldn't get a hand on the spot kick despite diving the right way - to double the Candystripes' lead.


Four minutes before the interval, Rovers halved the deficit through Graham Burke. After good build-up play between Burke and Ronan Finn down the right-wing, the ball eventually fell to Burke who cut inside and coolly slotted beyond Nathan Gartside in the Derry goal to give Rovers a lifeline.


Rovers made two changes at the break, and both substitutions played a huge part in swinging the game around for Rovers, with Rory Gaffney and Richie Towell replacing Danny Mandroiu and Lee Grace respectively.


There was only ten minutes played in the second half and Rovers were level. Aaron Greene played in Liam Scales down the left-wing, who in-turn crossed into the Derry box to Ronan Finn. The Hoops skipper has the easiest of tap-ins at the Derry back-post to level the score - his first of the season.


The reigning League of Ireland Champions kicked-on from here, and just seven minutes later they were leading 3-2. Rory Gaffney played a neat one-two with Graham Burke, before running down on the Derry goal and hammering home past Nathan Gartside to give Stephen Bradley's side the lead.


The game was sealed 16 minutes from time when a Roberto Lopes long-ball was headed on by Aaron Greene and found the feet of Richie Towell. The Derry City defence stood still as Towell ran down on goal and calmly slotted beyond Gartside to net his second goal in as many games for his new club, and increase Rovers lead to two.


Derry tried to get back into the game, and almost got through the Rovers defence just minutes from time. Junior got on the end of a looping ball and was steaming down on goal before Liam Scales ended the attack with a fantastic tackle just inside the Rovers box.


Stephen Bradley gave competitive debuts to youngsters Dean McMenamy and Dylan Duffy as Shamrock Rovers return to the capital with all three points in the pockets.


Both sides are in action in the FAI Cup 1st Round next weekend, as Derry travel to Head In The Game Park to take on Drogheda United (date and kick-off time to be confirmed), while Shamrock Rovers host Galway United in Tallaght Stadium on Sunday week (July 25th), in a 3pm kick-off.


Derry City: 13. Nathan Gartside; 6. Eoin Toal (C), 21. Cameron McJannet, 3. Ciaran Coll; 15. Ronan Boyce, 4. Ciaron Harkin, 29. Jack Malone (62' Darren Cole), 24. Danny Lafferty; 7. Will Fitzgerald (62' Jamie McGonigle), 11. James Akintunde, 14. Junior.


Shamrock Rovers: 1. Alan Mannus; 5. Lee Grace (46' Richie Towell), 4. Roberto Lopes, 15. Liam Scales; 8. Ronan Finn (C) (87' Max Murphy), 7. Dylan Watts, 16. Gary O'Neill, 11. Sean Kavanagh; 10. Graham Burke (90+2' Dylan Duffy), 9. Aaron Greene (87' Dean McMenamy), 14. Danny Mandroiu (46' Rory Gaffney).

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