Premier Division: Five-goal Derry City mark Brandywell return with win against Limerick
Derry City marked their return to the redeveloped Brandywell Stadium with a thrilling 5-0 win over Limerick.
Ronan Hale became an instant folk hero for the Candystripes with a superb hat-trick to ensure the long-awaited homecoming was a successful one.
Ronan Curtis and Aaron McEneff also scored as Derry recovered from their humiliating defeat by Shamrock Rovers.
The win sees Kenny Shiels’ side climb above Bohemians and Sligo Rovers to seventh place in the Premier Division.
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill was in attendance to help mark the opening of the new stadium but kick-off was delayed by nearly ten minutes because of problems with the nets in each goal.
After they had waited more than 15 months to make their return, the Derry players were not distracted by the added delay and quickly took the lead.
Hale picked up the ball on the edge of the area and his shot flew straight into the top corner to the delight of the home fans.
The hosts went close to doubling their lead when Nicky Low’s shot forced a save from Brendan Clarke before Curtis fired over the crossbar following Rory Patterson’s back-heel.
Limerick nearly punished Derry’s wasteful finishing when Billy Dennehy’s 25-yard free kick cannoned against the post.
|Airtricity Premier Division – Monday 12 March|
|Bray Wanderers||1-2||Sligo Rovers|
|Cork City||1-0||Shamrock Rovers|
|St Pat’s Athletic||0-0||Dundalk|
The Candystripes made sure of the points with two goals in a three minute spell just after the hour mark.
Patterson battled to regain possession before pulling the ball back for Curtis to slide a shot past the on-rushing Clarke in the 61st minute.
Minutes later, Low’s effort struck the crossbar and McEneff fired the rebound into an empty goal.
Hale clinched his hat-trick with two goals in a four minute spree.
The on-loan Birmingham City striker scored from close range after the Limerick defence were unable to clear the danger before he wrapped-up the scoring when he converted from the penalty spot after he was brought down inside the area.
Limerick’s Connor Ellis had a late chance to get a consolation for the visitors but his effort flew narrowly over the bar as the home fans were able to begin their celebrations long before the full-time whistle.
Derry City: Doherty (capt), McDermott, Cole, Toal, Doyle, McEneff, Curtis, Rory Hale, Ronan Hale, Patterson, Low.
Limerick: Clarke, Kelly, Whitehead, D Dennehy, Tracy, Coleman, Wearen, Duggan (capt), Kearns, B Dennehy, Morrissey.
Source: BBC SPORT NI