Saturday 22 July 2017

Champions fire blanks at Oriel

Dundalk 0-0 Derry City

Dundalk's Niclas Vemmelund takes on Derry's Ronan Curtis in an aerial battle Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Dundalk's Niclas Vemmelund takes on Derry's Ronan Curtis in an aerial battle Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Dundalk's first draw of the season delivered another win for Cork City.

The League of Ireland champions are 15 points behind the Leesiders after failing to break down a Derry City side that worked extremely hard at Oriel Park.

Robbie Benson of Dundalk attempts to bypass Derry City's Dean Jarvis Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Robbie Benson of Dundalk attempts to bypass Derry City's Dean Jarvis Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

Kenny Shiels' well-organised operation subdued Stephen Kenny's star men and they even had second-half chances to nick a victory.

But there was always a sense that a scoreless outcome suited them. For Dundalk, it's yet another setback.

Seeking a third league win on the trot, they looked confident in the early minutes with Paddy Barrett and Dane Massey both calling visiting netminder Ger Doherty into action.

Kenny's side were bright, but they found it difficult to really cut through a Derry side that set up with the intention of being difficult to break down and then looking to counter quickly when winning possession.

Dundalk players Chris Shields and David McMillan attempt to dispossess Barry McNamee of Derry City Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Dundalk players Chris Shields and David McMillan attempt to dispossess Barry McNamee of Derry City Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

The midfield trio of Aaron McEneff, Nicky Low and the more attack-minded Barry McNamee compare favourably with anything else in the country and their diligence meant that former Candystripe Patrick McEleney found it difficult to roam.

When he dropped deeper to get on the ball, front man Dave McMillan was isolated.

On the sideline, Kenny urged his team to press forward and they did peg Derry back for spells with home centre halves Sean Hoare and Paddy Barrett getting plenty of time on the ball in the opposition half.

Derry were capable of absorbing pressure and restricting the Lilywhites to speculative attempts from distance when the well of ideas ran dry.

The pattern continued after the resumption and, as the natives grew anxious, the Candystripes began to show a little more ambition. McEleney struggled against his former employer in the defeat in Maginn Park in March and he was frustrated again here, before a knee injury forced him off.

Ciaran Kilduff was introduced as a second striker, yet Derry arguably created the better chances as Dundalk fired blanks. Sean Hoare came close to an own goal from a City corner with Robbie Benson's goal-line clearance coming to rescue and Barry McNamee and Nathan Boyle both threatened from close range.

Dundalk had more of the ball, but couldn't get close enough to deliver the killer blow.

Dundalk - Rogers, Vemmelund, Hoare, Barrett, Massey; Shields (O'Donnell 74), Benson; Duffy, McEleney (Kilduff 66), McGrath; McMillan (Stewart 78)

Derry City - Doherty, Monaghan, McDermott, Barry, Jarvis; Low, McEneff; Schubert (Daniels 74), McNamee, Curtis; Boyle (Timlin 78)

Ref - N Doyle (Dublin)

Irish Independent

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