STEPHEN KENNY could be sick of the sight of Candystripes by Friday week after the first instalment of his three reunions in 12 days went badly wrong last night.
The Setanta Cup holders face an uphill battle at the Brandywell in the second leg of this semi-final next Monday after goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse was sent off after 13 minutes and they were subsequently outplayed by the team Kenny built before leaving the Brandywell in December.
Played in front of a crowd of just 750, the game turned when Rovers' South African goalkeeper saw red before Derry took the lead from the resultant penalty.
Patrick McEleney split the Hoops' defence and both Mark Farren and David McDaid raced towards the ball. Realising he was coming from an offside position, Farren stopped and allowed McDaid take over, touch the ball around Pieterse and go down under his challenge.
Rovers protested as Alan Kelly pointed to the spot and reached for his red card, despite the fact that assistant Marc Douglas had his flag up for offside and the ball seemed to be heading away from goal. Indeed, replays indicated the goalkeeper had made minimal, if any, contact and he was convinced that McDaid was being booked for diving before realising his home debut had come to an end.
Daryl Kavanagh was replaced by Oscar Jansson and the Swede parried a poor penalty attempt from McDaid, only for captain Kevin Deery to pounce on the rebound and volley over the despairing 'keeper.
It wasn't long before he was picking the ball out of the net again as McEleney launched a sublime curling effort that Jansson couldn't keep out, despite getting a fingertip to it.
Rovers had two penalty claims turned down but Kelly wasn't interested. Instead it was Derry who capped a night to remember when McEleney's corner was headed back out to him and his second delivery found Ryan McBride, who rose unchallenged to head home.
SHAMROCK ROVERS -- Pieterse; Gannon (McCormack 61), Hawkins, Gartland, Powell; Brennan, Rice, Finn, Greene (O'Neill 75); Kavanagh (Jansson 13), Twigg.
DERRY CITY -- Doherty; Madden (Barr 35), McCallion, McBride, McCaffrey; McEleney, Deery, Molloy, McLaughlin (Crossan 82); McDaid, Farren (Curran 80).
Ref -- A Kelly (Cork)