Ciaran Coll clears his lines for Derry City against Finn Harps
A hat-trick from Ciaron Harkin saw Derry City have a very easy victory over Finn Harps at the Brandywell.
Derry City . . . 4
Finn Harps . . . 0
Harps poor record against the Candystripes continued and Derry City had it very much their own way in this contest.
They led 2-0 at the break and added two more in the second half. It was a good night for the NcNamee family as three of the family played a part in the game; Barry starting for Derry City; Tony starting for Finn Harps and young Shane McNamee coming on as a second half substitute for the Candystripes - a proud night for Tony and Nancy McNamee.
Both teams were beaten in their mid-week games - Derry at St. Pat’s and Harps at home to Shamrock Rovers.
Perhaps as a consequence, both managers tinkered with their respective sides with Declan Devine making three changes, recalling Jamie McDonagh, defender Josh Kerr and Ramelton’s Barry McNamee.
Ollie Horgan’s team selection showed a couple of surprises with the in-form Niall Logue only making the bench and the front pairing of Nathan Boyle and Mikey Place also among the subs.
Keith Cowan and Tony McNamee were both in from the start and there was a welcome return too for Rafael Cretaro.
In what was Harps’ first competitive fixture at the newly revamped Brandywell, Derry City, they settled well, but had a lucky escape early on when Josh Kerr fired an early chance up and over the bar from close range.
That chance came after a free-kick played into the area by Jamie McDonagh and McDonagh’s deliveries from set pieces were a big factor of a first half in which City were by far the better team.
That said, Harps did have some good moments of their own and Daniel O’Reilly almost headed them in front on 26 minutes when following a long throw-in to a crowded area by Tony McNamee, O’Reilly’s effort was taken off the line at the expense of a corner.
But Derry always carried the greater threat and they got they eventually made their pressure count just after the half hour.
Their wide-man Junior, who caused all sorts of problems on the left for Derry, showed a great piece of skill before delivering an inviting cross. David Parkhouse went down under the challenge of O’Reilly and the penalty was given.
Junior’s spot-kick was poor and Peter Burke managed to save but unfortunately for the Harps keeper, Junior was able to follow up and stroke the rebound home.
Junior was involved in the action again soon after, executing a wonderful overhead kick which saw the ball fly past Burke and into the top corner. Frustratingly for the Derry player, the goal was ruled out when Junior was adjudged to have fouled Harps’ Mark Russell when volleying to the net.
But the second eventually arrived just a minute before the break, Ciaron Harkin curling home a wonderful free-kick from 20 yards.
There was no let up in the second half as Derry continued to dominate. They added the third on 66 minutes when Ciaran Harkin took advantage of a defensive mistake to fire home.
Finn Harps had a couple of half chances in the final minutes while Derry had a big call for a second half penalty.
The fourth goal came in added time with Harkin completing his hat-trick.
Finn Harps have to travel to the Brandywell again on Monday night to take on Derry in the EA Sports Cup and it won’t get any easier.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie, Jamie McDonagh, Ciaran Coll, Eoin Toal, Josh Kerr, Greg Sloggett, Ciaron Harkin, Gerardo Bruna (Shane McNamee 81), Barry McNamee (Jack Malone 75), David Parkhouse, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.
Finn Harps: Peter Burke, Colm Deasy (Nathan Boyle 56), Daniel O’Reilly, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Tony McNamee (Jacob Borg 56), Caolan McAleer, Mark Coyle, Sean Boyd, Rafael Cretaro (Mikey Place 75), Mark Russell.
Referee: Thomas Connolly.