Emotional Derry dedicate triumph to Ryan McBride
Derry City 3 Cobh Ramblers 1
An emotional Kenny Shiels dedicated Derry City's EA Sports Cup triumph over Cobh Ramblers to the late Ryan McBride.
The Candystripes celebrated their first trophy of any sort since 2012 with their departed captain on their minds, team captain Gerard Doherty pointing to the sky before he lifted the trophy in front of a packed Brandywell.
And Shiels said it was an emotional win for everyone involved at the club.
"We're delighted for the players and the people at the club and the people of the city, but most importantly for Ryan McBride," he said.
"How fitting is that in the week that the stadium is to be changed to the Ryan McBride Stadium? It's as if it's been pre-ordained.
"This should be Ryan McBride's day as well, and we have thought so much about him."
The breakthrough yesterday came on 23 minutes and it was a mistake in defence that was Cobh's undoing.
Darren Cole's ball forward to Ronan Hale looked to be too short, but James McSweeney misjudged it and it went through to the Derry striker, who promptly turned the retreating defender and hooked it past Adam Mylod on his favoured left foot.
It looked as Derry would kick on from that as Aaron Splaine and Aaron McEneff both came close, but Cobh stunned the Brandywell by equalising on 26 minutes.
Kevin Taylor's low cross was allowed to go all the way to the back post, where Christopher Hull reacted quicker than Cole to smash the ball into the roof of the net.
Derry emerged on the front foot at the start of the second half and a clever ball from Jamie McDonagh gave Hale another run on goal.
The striker tried to produce a carbon copy of his goal as he cut back onto his left foot but this time he was denied by Mylod.
The pressure was mounting, though, and the hosts finally grabbed the second goal on 55 minutes, when Ben Fisk's corner - Derry's eighth of the game - found Cole completely unmarked and he powered a header past a helpless Mylod from close range.
It was all Derry in the second half, despite Cobh's best efforts, and they finally put the game beyond the First Division side on 72 minutes.
Rory Hale sent McDonagh scampering down the right wing and the full-back showed great persistence to break into the area before he was blatantly pushed to the ground by Ian Mylod.
Referee Ben Connolly pointed to the penalty spot and McEneff stepped up to drive the ball past Mylod, who came so close to getting two hands on the ball.
Cobh were gifted a chance to make a game of it in the closing stages when Cole lazily brought David Hurly down in the area, giving referee Connolly another easy penalty decision.
Shane O'Connor, once of Ipswich, stepped up but his well struck effort was brilliantly saved by Gerard Doherty, and O'Connor sliced the rebound over, much to the delight of the Brandywell and Doherty himself, who picked up a yellow card for his celebrations.
Derry were deserved victors, although Cobh did hold their own, but Shiels was happy that his players stepped up when it mattered ahead of Wednesday's FAI Cup quarter-final with Bohemians.
"I thought the performance was good and there was a lot of effort put into getting the victory, but Cobh deserve some credit as well," the manager said.
"It's important for our players because most of our players haven't played in a senior final before.
"It lets the people of Derry see what the future holds and these young players will help the club in the future.
"Bohemians are the best team in the league at the minute and it's going to be a hard shift for us."
Derry City - Doherty, Cole, Seaborne, McHattie, McIntyre, McEneff, Rory Hale (McNamee 90), Shiels, Splaine (Low 65), Ronan Hale, Fisk (Delap 75).
Cobh Ramblers - A Mylod, Taylor, O'Riordan (Donnellan 73), McSweeney, Christopher (Flemming 61), Hurley, I Mylod, Hull, Fernandes (Leonard 82), Walker, O'Connor.
Referee - B Connolly.
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