Wednesday 21 February 2018

Kenny praise for Farren as Derry secure top spot

First Division round-up

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

A travelling crowd of 2,000 watched Derry City secure their return to the Premier Division as Division One champions on Saturday night, with Mark Farren's goal securing a 1-0 victory over Monaghan United at Gortakeegan.

The striker pounced on Emmet Friars' cross to score the only goal of the game, which sees the Candystripes return to the league they were thrown out of last year after the double payments scandal. It wasn't all bad news for Mick Cooke's Mons, who can look forward to a play-off against Waterford United tomorrow night.

City boss Stephen Kenny, who stuck with the club throughout the crisis, paid tribute to his team, and in particular his winning goalscorer, who overcame a brain tumour in 2008 to score 17 times this season.

"We were on the floor last year as a club, and to rebuild it has been tremendous," he said. "It is just a first step. We want to be at the top of Irish football. It will not be easy.

"We have played tremendously this season. We have been top of the league and then had a few defeats. We have come back strongly, taking 14 points from six games and the players deserve credit for the way they did that.

"Mark has had to deal with so much -- about his future and his health, never mind his football career. He has been unbelievably courageous."

Waterford came from behind at Tolka Park to ensure Shelbourne remain in the second tier for another year, with John Kearney and Willie John Kiely breaking Drumcondra hearts late in the day.

Mark Leech's first-half strike gave Alan Mathews' Shels hope, but despite dominating for large stretches, the hosts allowed the visitors back into the match and Kearney levelled, before Kiely struck to secure second spot and carry a four-match winning streak into the play-off at the RSC.

Cork City Foras ended the season in sixth spot after a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Wexford Youths, while Limerick secured fifth place with a 5-1 thrashing of Athlone Town at Lissywollen Park and Finn Harps beat Mervue United 4-0.

Salthill Devon finished bottom after going down 4-1 to Longford Town and now face a nail-biting two-legged play-off with Cobh Ramblers, beginning on Tuesday at St Colman's Park.

Irish Independent

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