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Derry hold hoops back

DERRY was the town he loved so well, but Shamrock Rovers' boss Stephen Kenny will be glad to see the back of Derry City after his former club caused yet another night of misery for the reigning champions in Dublin last night.

Derry and Rovers have met three times in the last 12 days, and in that time the Foylesiders have knocked the Hoops out of the Setanta Cup, the southsiders endured their heaviest defeat in domestic competition since the move to Tallaght, and then last night it was a case of two points dropped for Kenny's crew as they were unable to beat a 10-man Candystripes side ravaged by injury.


David McDaid's 76th-minute strike for Derry cancelled out the lead goal from Gary Twigg but there were no real winners in the title race last night, as all the top four were involved in 1-1 draws, so it's as you were when it comes to the top part of the table, although Derry claimed a moral victory.

"We were very brave, we defended with our lives and we got our reward," said a delighted Derry manager Declan Devine, pleased to have outwitted his former boss and mentor Kenny yet again.

"We're not in the habit at Derry of celebrating a point but given all that happened, we have to give ourselves a pat on the back.

"More pleasing for me than the point was the character we showed.

"I have always praised the character of the side, for such a young team they showed tremendous courage, they kept playing their passing game. I have to commend them all for what they gave in terms of effort.

"Our keeper, Ger Doherty, was immense. He deserves international recognition and if he carries on like he played last night he won't be far away from an international cap. I have spoken to (Northern Ireland manager) Michael O'Neill about him," added Devine.

A glance at the Derry bench -- they had seven kids named as subs because so many of their senior players were missing -- underlined the task ahead of the visitors.

And City had to soak up some serious pressure in the opening period, Rovers practically encamped in the Derry half at times. Rovers had a great chance to go in front on 19 minutes, when they were awarded a penalty for Matthew Crossan's foul on Gary McCabe, but Doherty did well to save Billy Dennehy's spot-kick.

Derry tried to take the game to Rovers and had great chances late in the half from David McDaid and Mark Farren, though Derry's game plan suffered when Farren pulled his hamstring and had to be replaced.


But Rovers finally broke through a minute into the second half, Twigg netting his 10th goal of the season from close range after City had failed to clear Gary McCabe's corner.

Derry suffered a further blow on 70 minutes, when Patrick McEleney was deemed to have taken a dive by the referee. His second booking meant an early shower.

On 76 minutes, Rovers were made to suffer as McDaid netted his third league goal of the season, Rovers dealing poorly with Dermot McCaffrey's cross.