Missed chances prove costly for Derry City
Shamrock Rovers 2 - Derry City 0
Derry City paid the price for missed opportunities as former boss Pat Fenlon got off to a winning start at Shamrock Rovers.
Peter Hutton's men spurned chance after chance as they dominated the first hour of the game in Dublin and were punished with two sucker punches as the hosts stole all three points after a thoroughly unconvincing display.
The three points were all that mattered for Rovers who secured their second victory over the Candystripes this season.
The best chances came early on. Stephen Dooley sparked Derry into life when he took on and beat Luke Byrne seven minutes in. He raced into the penalty area and pulled the ball back for Michael Duffy, who, off balance, could only side-foot the ball just wide of Barry Murphy's goal.
Rory Patterson then set up Patrick McEleney in space 25 yards from Murphy's goal and he guided a lob over the goalkeeper, only for Murphy to recover and just get a fingertip to the ball to push it behind for a corner.
The first time Rovers did try passing the ball on the ground, they opened Derry up and came very close to scoring.
Ronan Finn did the spadework in midfield and his ball down the right found Marty Waters, his cross into the back post area was met by Dean Kelly, whose downward header flashed just wide.
Derry should have taken the lead five minutes before the break. McEleney played Patterson through on the Rovers goal, Murphy parried the ball back into his path and Patterson kept the ball in play before picking out Michael Duffy in space, but he curled his effort wide with Murphy beaten.
Rovers opened the scoring with their first real attack of the game.
Luke Byrne was found in space down the left for the first time all night and his cross found Dean Kelly, whose header back across goal found Ronan Finn, who sent a header past Gerard Doherty from close range.
The lead was doubled when Rovers counter-attacked and this time Finn turned provider as he beat Barry and dinked a cross over Doherty to the back post where Kelly was unmarked to head in the second goal.
Shamrock Rovers: Murphy, Byrne, Madden, Kenna, McGuinness, Robinson, Finn (Bayly 74 mins), Gary McCabe (O'Connor 86 mins), Kelly, Brennan, Waters (Sheppard 66 mins).
Derry City: Doherty, Barry, McBride, Timlin (Jarvis 80 mins), Ventre, Duffy, McNamee, Dooley, Lowry, P McEleney (Curran 75 mins), Patterson (Tracey 86 mins).
Referee: Dave McKeon (Dublin).