LETHARGIC Limerick FC produced their poorest display of Martin Russell’s short tenure when suffering a disappointing 4-0 defeat to Derry City in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division at Thomond Park on Monday night.
Two goals in either half from the Candystripes shattered Limerick’s hopes of recording a third successive home win in the re-arranged top flight fixture.
Seventh-placed Limerick may have sat just one place below Derry in the Premier Division table before kick-off, but the gulf between the side on this occasion at least was vast.
Derry took the lead on 20 minutes when a slick passing move involving Barry McNamee and Stephen Dooley created the opening for Patrick McEleney to slot the ball past Barry Ryan. It was no more than the Candystripes deserved.
Limerick were dealt another blow after 25 minutes when defender Samuel Oji was forced off with an injury. Oji was replaced by Shane O’Connor.
Derry doubled their lead on 34 minutes, with the home side contributing handsomely to the visitors second goal thanks to some woeful defending.
Limerick keeper Barry Ryan did superbly to stop McEleney’s initial effort, but with the home defence marked absent, Stephen Dooley centred for Michael Duffy to finish to the net from close range.
Limerick created their only decent chance of the opening half on 37 minutes when Kieran Djilali cut in from the right, but his attempt on goal from an acute angle was stopped by Derry netminder, Doherty.
Derry comfortably maintained their two goal advantage until half-time.
Limerick began the second half in brighter fashion. On the hour mark, Kieran Djilali rolled a free-kick to Lee J Lynch who thumped a fierce effort from 20-yards that was pushed away by Doherty. Ian Turner’s follow-up effort was also saved.
Derry wrapped up the three points on 68 minutes when the visitors knifed through the Blues defence once again and Philip Lowry flashed the ball past Ryan. Substitute Ryan Curran rounded off the scoring for Derry when he blasted the ball past Ryan on 86 minutes.
Limerick return to league action this Friday night when Drogheda United visit Thomond Park, 7.45pm.
LIMERICK FC - Barry Ryan, Patrick Nzuzi, Samuel Oji (Shane O’Connor 25), Stephen Folan (Tony Whitehead 79), Robbie Williams, Jason Hughes, Shane Duggan (Capt), Kieran Djilali (Jack Doherty 71), Ian Turner, Lee J Lynch, Rory Gaffney.
DERRY CITY - Gerard Doherty, Shaun Kelly, Dean Jarvis, Barry Molloy (Capt), Ryan McBride, Barry McNamee (Ryan Curran 82), Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy (Joshua Treacy 86), Philip Lowry, Stephen Dooley (Mark Timlin 71), Aaron Barry.
REFEREE - Rob Harvey (Dublin)