Harps misery in Derry continues

Finn Harps’ miserable record against Derry City continued at the Brandywell on Friday night

Finn Harps’ miserable record against Derry City continued at the Brandywell on Friday night

Derry City 4

Finn Harps 0

Report: Andrew Quinn

The ‘great’ rivalry between both clubs is at critically low point. Harps are no where near the team that they used to be in seasons gone by it was easy to see why so many Derry fans opted to stay home and enjoy the good weather with their barbeques, beer and burritos.

Derry dominated the game from start to finish. Two goals from ex-Harps man Stephen McLaughlin and one a piece from Rory Patterson and Barry Molloy made sure that Derry’s name will be in the hat for the draw for the third round.

Derry made their cross-border rivals pay for their mistakes and there can be doubting just how on form Declan Devine’s men are at the minute but the night belonged to the skill and craft of Owen Morrison.

Morrison set McLaughlin up for his second goal and his pass for Rory Patterson’s strike was sublime.

Friday’s win was Derry’s fourth in a row in all competition but for rivals Harps it was their sixth successive defeat.

Harps lone striker Paul McVeigh found himself in space in the 11th minute. McVeigh ghosted his way into the Derry area on the right but his powerful drive was tipped away from goal by Gerard Doherty.

Derry winger Patrick McEleney picked out team mate Rory Patterson with a wonderful pass in the 15th minute. Despite McEleney’s excellent ball forward Patterson hit his shot straight at Ciaran Gallagher.

Gallagher was called into action in the 18th minute when after a Patrick McEleney corner, the ball fell to Dermot McCaffrey outside the Finn Harps 18 yard-box.

Tyrone native, McCaffrey struck at the ball with severe power but Gallagher dove to his right and denied the left-back his first Derry City goal.

Gallagher’s intervention saw the ball land at the feet of Shane McEleney who fired the ball into the net but the goal was disallowed as the tall centre back was judged to have been offside.

Derry captain on the night, Barry Molloy, found Patterson with an exquisite pass in the 23rd minute. Molloy’s pass was perfectly weighted and was accurate but again Gallagher was quick off his line and Patterson hit his shot straight at the Donegal man from 10 yards out.

One time Derry City youth goalkeeper and now Finn Harps winger Paul Simon Tracey almost found the back of the net in the 29th minute when he attempted to lob Gerard Doherty from 25 yards out on the left side.

Doherty was at full stretch but fortunately for the Candy Stripes, Tracey’s shot dipped wide at the last second.

Declan Devine’s decision to start Owen Morrison against Harps certainly started to pay off after the half hour mark.

Morrison displayed wonderful one touch football and in the 30th minute he found Patrick McEleney with a skilful pass just outside the Harps area. McEleney attempted to find the back of the net with a long range effort but it went wide.

Derry took the lead in the 31st minute when Stephen McLaughlin scored his third goal in four days.

Patrick McEleney swung in a corner from the left side and Gallagher failed to make any connection at all. Former Harps player, McLaughlin arrived at the back post to side foot the ball into the net with his left foot.

It was a goal Derry certainly deserved as all of Harps’ attempts were reserved to long range efforts from outside of the box.

Owen Morrison helped to double Derry’s lead in the 40th minute when played Stephen McLaughlin in for his second strike of the game.

Morrison collected the ball about 35 yards from goal and proceeded to dazzle with a sequence of wonderful passes. McLaughlin was alert and swung at the ball with his left foot from outside the area. Gallagher tried his best to make himself count but despite being at full strength the ball floated over his head and dropped into the back of the net – a wonderful finish from the Isle of Doagh born winger.

Owen Morrison picked up exactly where he left in the first half when his superb pass to Rory Patterson resulted in the Strabane man scoring Derry’s third of the evening.

Morrison lobbed the ball over the top of the Harps defence to find Patterson between defenders. Patterson was equally as skilful as he lobbed the ball over the head of Gallagher from 10 yards out.

Derry scored their fourth 60 seconds later when Ruaidhri Higgins sent a cross from the right into the Harps area.

Barry Molloy crept into the area unmarked and with a glancing header he guided the ball into the far left hand corner of the Harps net.

Second half substitutes Mark Farren and David McDaid linked up well on the edge of the Harps area in the 79th minute.

Farren surged forward with the ball and just as a Harps defender committed to the challenge he squared the ball to McDaid who unleashed a powerful drive towards goal. Gallagher’s save was nothing short of brilliant and with outstretched hand he tipped it over the bar.

Man-of-the-match Owen Morrison found Stephen McLaughlin on the left with yet another fantastic pass in the 84th minute. McLaughlin cut back inside to give the ball to Higgins whose long range effort hit the crossbar.

Harps player/manager Peter Hutton must have breathed a sigh of relief when referee Paul Tuite signalled full-time. It was a game that Derry dominated from start to finish. It was a game they certainly deserved to win. It was a game that acted as yet another reminder that the gulf in quality between the cross-border rivals is still considerable to say the least.

DERRY CITY: (4-4-1-1) Gerard Doherty; Dermot McCaffrey, Simon Madden, Shane McEleney (Eddie McCallion 71 mins), Ryan McBride; Ruaidhri Higgins, Barry Molloy, Owen Morrison, Stephen McLaughlin; Patrick McEleney (Mark Farren 64 mins), Rory Patterson (David McDaid 75 mins). Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Brian McGroary, Matthew Crossan, Ryan Curran.

FINN HARPS: (4-5-1) Ciaran Gallagher; Paul McVeigh, Ciaran Coll, Peter Hutton, Aaron O’Hagan; Shaun McGowan, Tommy McBride, Paul Simon Tracey (Jordan Duffy 71 mins), Tommy Bonner; Matt Harkin (Garry Merrit 58 mins), Ciaran Greene.

Subs not used: James Doherty, Shauna Patton, Tommy McMonagle, Shane McGinty.

REFEREE: Mr. Paul Tuite (Dublin).