There was no separating Derry City and Shamrock Rovers as they played out a forgettable 0-0 draw at the Brandywell.
In a game largely devoid of goalmouth action, it was Derry who created the better openings with Barry McNamee twice denied by last gasp tackles when through on goal.
Rovers, who had Keith Fahey sent off for simulation late on, rarely threatened in contrast although Ryan Brennan did come close in the second half with an effort which just cleared the upright.
It took 37 minutes for Derry City to cause concern in the Rovers defence when Patrick McEleney fed a through ball through the defence for Barry McNamee, but with the Ramelton youngster about to pull the trigger on Craig Hyland’s goal, Rovers were saved by a last gasp tackle from David Webster.
The game’s best chance came on 58 minutes and it was one which Derry should have taken. Superb pressure from the hosts forced Dave Webster into a poor pass straight to Anthony Elding just 30 yards from his own goal. It was two on one for Derry as McEleney was in space and screaming for the pass, but Elding, with his head down, opted for a speculative lobbed effort which landed on the roof of Hyland’s net.
Just two minutes later, Rovers could have taken the lead themselves when McEleney lost the ball and Keith Fahey’s low cross was met by Ryan Brennan who sliced his effort just past the upright.
McNamee then brilliantly burst through from midfield but just as he bore down on goal, David O’Connor arrived to take the ball off his foot with a superbly timed challenge.
Fahey was dismissed two minutes from time for a second yellow card and despite a late push from Derry, Rovers held firm.
Derry: G Doherty, S Sharkey, R McBride, S McEleney, B McNamee, P Lowry, A Elding, P McEleney (S Clucas 85’), C Morrison (R Curran 77’), M Timlin, A Barry.
Shamrock Rovers: C Hyland, S Madden, D Webster, C Kenna, D O’Connor, P Cregg, R Brennan (S McPhail ’64), K Fahey, S O’Connor (B Miele 82’), M Drennan, G Brennan.
Referee: P McLaughlin (Donegal)