| 5.4°C Dublin

Hoops brush past a sorry Derry

airtricity league: shamrock rovers 4 derry 1

DISARRAY in Derry but happiness for the Hoops as Shamrock Rovers moved to within four points of long-time leaders Dundalk with a 4-1 demolition of Derry City.

Their FAI Cup dream is already over but a title push from the Hoops is very much on the agenda as their goal-scoring form - nine goals in the last two games- will worry other teams.

But there was a downside to this largely sweat-free home win as top scorer Mikey Drennan, who scored his side's first of the night, was sent off 10 minutes from time and will be suspended for Friday's important clash with Bohemians. Drennan took to twitter after the game to apologise "to the club, my team mates and the fans for being stupid and missing one the biggest games of the year".

Given their recent form (poor) and their injury list (horrendous), Derry fans would have travelled to Dublin last night with very low expectations, and it was game over after 18 minutes.

By that stage City were a goal, and a man, down. Drennan had scored to put Rovers on front on 11 minutes, a simple tap-in by the U21 cap after Brandon Miele did the approach work. That was Drennan's ninth goal in 16 league games, impressive form from the player who has used a move home from England to turn around a career.

Seven minutes later Derry suffered another blow as defender Ryan McBride was shown a straight red card for a foul on Patrick Cregg. But Rovers had to make do with that 1-0 lead at half time even though they should really have been 4-0 up, a mixture of slack shooting and the form of City keeper Ger Doherty restricting the Hoops.

The second half saw a more clinical side from Pat Fenlon's men who added two more goals early in the half. Gary McCabe netted his first league goal of the season a minute after the restart rounding keeper Doherty and sliding the ball into the next and on 54 minutes it was 3-0, Kieran Marty Watters beating Doherty with a left-footed drive as Doherty was left exposed by his ragged defence.

Miele, a class act for Rovers, calmly scored a fourth on 65 minutes though City insisted that the ex-Newcastle man was offside.

There a down side for Rovers, though, as Drennan was sent off 10 minutes from time for his reaction to a clash with Seanan Clucas and as attention drifted late on, Derry nicked a consolation goal from sub Ryan Curran on 85 minutes.

Grim times in the north-west as Sligo and Derry struggle but good times for Rovers.