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McLaughlin on target as UCD destroyed by much-changed Candystripes

Familiarity bred contentment for Derry City last night as they claimed a win on their second visit to the UCD within four days to reach the last four.

In truth, this was a dramatically different XI to the side which drew 2-2 here on Friday as Stephen Kenny made nine changes. But it was still the only two surviving starters, Patrick McEleney and the excellent Stephen McLaughlin, who did most of the damage.

Despite the dramatic scale of the changes, the pattern of the first half was almost identical to Friday as Derry dominated the opening exchanges. Within two minutes, 19-year-old Michael McCrudden had weaved through UCD's right side to shoot wide.

Derry's lack of experience was initially betrayed by their corresponding lack of penetration though. Close as McLaughlin came to fashioning an opening with his runs, their next best chance before the break came from his own long-range lob.

As such, it was UCD who looked more dangerous despite having much less of the ball. On 15 minutes Robbie Benson should have scored when the ball fell to him just to the left of the six-yard box. With the goal at his mercy, though, he blazed over. On 37 minutes then, Eugene Ferry saved well from a Sean Russell shot from another break.


Just after half-time, Benson played an inviting ball across the Derry goal but somehow it eluded all of Graham Rusk, Paul O'Conor and Darren Meenan.

And they were immediately punished. Perhaps predictably, it was Derry's two oldest heads that combined to do so. McEleney fed McLaughlin who expertly finished to make it 1-0.

From there, UCD completely folded. Within minutes, McLaughlin returned the favour for McEleney with the latter's fine strike bringing a fingertip save from Ger Barron. The 'keeper could do nothing about Ruairi Harkin's superior strike moments later, however, as his divine long-range effort soared into the top corner.

It was truly game over three minutes later as Michael McCrudden chipped over Barron for 3-0.

UCD found themselves a man down on 70 minutes as Sean Harding was sent off for bringing down McLaughlin in the box. The Derry hero on Friday night, David McDaid, however, couldn't finish here as his penalty hit the post.

UCD -- Barron; Harding, Nangle, O'Connor, Leahy; Corry (Russell 22), O'Conor, Meenan, Ledwith (Kavanagh 80); Rusk, Benson (Doyle 57).

DERRY CITY -- Ferry; McBride, McCallion, McGonigle, Friars; Henry (Heaney 89), Harkin, McCrudden (S McEleney 70), McLaughlin; McDaid (Curran 86), McEleney.

Ref -- R Rogers (Dublin).

Irish Independent