League Report: St Patrick's Athletic 0 - 1 Derry City

Paul McMullan scored the winner for Derry City

Paul McMullan scored the winner for Derry City Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

Stephen Kenny’s reign as St Patrick’s Athletic manager didn’t go as planned as Derry City made it back-to-back Premier Division wins at Richmond Park.

Paul McMullan struck with thirteen minutes remaining as Derry kept the pressure on league leaders Shelbourne and they are now unbeaten in six games.

Kenny hasn’t tasted the sweet feeling of victory very often over the last five years after his international travails but his side rarely looked like breaking through tonight.

With personalities like Kenny, Ruaidhri Higgins, Damien Duff and Stephen Bradley all in the dugout this season, the managerial profile of Irish club football has never been higher. 

Unfortunately, what transpired on the pitch didn’t live up to the billing. 

A crowd of just over four and a half thousand, the largest home attendance in Richmond Park this season, packed in to see Stephen Kenny’s first outing as manager after the departure of Jon Daly last week.

Kenny was coming up against one of his many former clubs in the League of Ireland and he is well acquainted with Derry boss Higgins who he has worked with throughout his career in various roles at the Candystripes, Dundalk and Ireland.

Kenny had little or no time with his players, having been only announced on Thursday afternoon and it told with the Saints rather lethargic in their play and as the half wore on, Derry grew and took control with Will Patching running affairs.

There was minimal goalmouth action, Patching had been influential creating several half chances, while Ben Doherty fired narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box.

That was the extent of the action in the first half and Kenny trudged down the tunnel at the interval knowing he had work to do with his half time team talk.

The hosts started the second half well with 16-year-old sensation Mason Melia glancing a header off target. Had he managed to make a firmer connection, Derry City goalkeeper Brian Maher would have been in trouble.

Some neat build up play saw Brandon Kavanagh sting the palms of Maher from distance as the game reached the hour mark.

It looked like Derry were going to take the lead against the run of play but Michael Duffy’s brilliant cross evaded the despairing Pat Hoban.

Pats certainly brought more intensity to their play in the second half and that showed when Patrick McEleney had the ball nicked from his toe by Jamie Lennon. Kian Leavy countered and slipped in Kavanagh again who had his goalbound shot cleared heroically by Cameron McJannet.

Derry, who have made an unhealthy habit of coming out on the wrong side of tight games like this, profited from their close shave at the other end as McMullan put the visitors in front with just under fifteen minutes remaining.

McEleney who played a starring role in those great Dundalk teams came back to haunt his former manager and his precise pass split the Pats defence and allowed McMullan to slot home past Daniel Rogers.

Pats hunted an equaliser with Joe Redmond glancing wide at the back post but it was just another half chance.


St Patrick’s Athletic: Danny Rogers; Joe Redmond, Luke Turner, Conor Keely (Ryan McLoughlin, 85’), Anto Breslin; Jamie Lennon, Chris Forrester (Romal Palmer, 85’); Jake Mulraney, Kian Leavy (Alex Nolan, 85’), Brandon Kavanagh (Aaron Bolger, 68’); Mason Melia (Ruairi Keating, 61’)

Subs not used: Marcelo Pitaluga, Kieran Freeman, Jason McClelland, Cian Kavanagh


Derry City: Brian Maher; Ronan Boyce, Shane McEleney, Cameron McJannet, Ciaran Coll; Adam O’Reilly, Sadou Diallo (Michael Duffy, 59’), Will Patching (Cameron Dummigan, 74’); Paul McMullan (Daniel Kelly, 90+3’, Ben Doherty (Patrick McEleney, 59’), Pat Hoban

Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan, Ciaron Harkin, Danny Mullen, Sam Todd, Daniel Kelly, Sean Patto


Attendance: 4621.