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Derry City spoil Stephen Kenny’s League of Ireland return with win at St Pat’s

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Paul McMullan scored the only goal of the game with just 13 minutes remaining to pick up Derry’s second away win of the season.

There was undoubtedly a sense of anticipation at Inchicore after yesterday’s announcement that Kenny had become manager on a five-and-a-half-year contract, with the former Republic of Ireland boss having an incredible record domestically, especially with Dundalk, who he led to four league titles.

But Pat’s, who sacked their FAI Cup-winning manager Jon Daly just two weeks ago, have vastly underperformed this season, and this showing would have shown their new manager just how much work lies ahead of him in the coming months.

Derry could have taken the lead 25 minutes in when Pat Hoban picked out the run of McMullan in behind the St. Pat’s defence. The winger closed in on goal but the angle was against him and Daniel Rogers was able to save.

That was the only real action of a disappointing first-half, with Pat’s unable to threaten a Derry City defence that was missing the injured Mark Connolly.

It didn’t get any better for the home side in the second-half with the home side unable to rouse themselves despite the sold-out crowd.

City were comfortable and Ruaidhri Higgins sent on Michael Duffy and Patrick McEleney early in the second-half, and immediately his team looked sharper and more of a threat, the former producing a great cross which Hoban was so close to getting on the end of.

St. Pat’s then came close for the first time in the game when Patrick McEleney was dispossessed in midfield and Kian Leavy sent Brandon Kavanagh in on goal, but his shot, which beat Maher, was cleared off the line by Cameron McJannet.

The goal the game desperately needed came with 13 minutes to go when Patrick McEleney picked out the run of McMullan through the middle, and the winger kept his composure to slide the ball past Rogers to score his second goal on three games.

The goal proved to be more than enough with St. Pat’s out of ideas completely.

It is now six games unbeaten for Higgins, who brings his team back to Dublin on Monday for a game against champions Shamrock Rovers.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Rogers, Breslin, Redmond, Lennon, Forrester (Nolan 83), Melia (Keating 62), Leavy (McLaughlin 63), Kavanagh (Bolger 67), Mulreany, Keeley (Palmer 83), Turner.

Derry City: Maher, Coll, McJannet, S McEleney, Boyce, O’Reilly, Doherty (Duffy 57), Diallo (P McEleney 57), Patching (Dummigan 74), McMullan (Kelly 93), Hoban.

Referee: Mark Houlihan

Man of the Match: Paul McMullan (Derry City)

Match Rating: 6/10

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