Derry City draw a blank with focus now on Cup glory
Derry City 0-0 Cork City
Derry City and Cork City cancelled each other out in what was a largely forgettable affair at the Brandywell - with attention now turning to the big FAI Cup clash at Bohemians on Friday night.
The result last night was the perfect one for league leaders Dundalk, who remain four points clear of Cork having played the same amount of games.
This draw, the third game in succession that Cork have dropped points, means just two points from a possible nine for John Caulfield and his players who have missed a real opportunity to close the gap at the top yet again.
For Kenny Shiels and Derry City, this was not the worst result, especially after losing defender Ryan McBride to injury just 10 minutes in.
Patrick McClean was forced to make a premature return to action in his place.
The substitution did not unsettle Derry to their credit and it was the hosts who asked the most questions in the first period, with the Candystripes playing with huge confidence after their 5-0 win over Finn Harps at the weekend.
Former Northern Ireland striker Rory Patterson, who failed to get on the scoresheet in Ballybofey, went closest for Derry in that first half with a scorching effort from 30 yards which panicked Mark McNulty in the Cork goal before flying just wide of the post.
In a game of very few chances, both sides will be satisfied with the draw, but Cork looked the more likely to score in the second period as Derry City began to tire.
The visitors will be kicking themselves in fact that they did not grab all three points late on in the game.
It was Sean Maguire who almost stole it for the visitors but he put his effort over the bar in the 89th minute while Garry Buckley had a shot saved by Doherty in injury time as Cork pushed for a late winner.
The result keeps Derry a point ahead of Cork in second place in the league table, with the Leesiders having three games in hand.
Next up for the Candystripes is a trip to Dalymount Park to face Bohemians on Friday night for a place in the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup.
That's a huge game for Derry as a Cup triumph would represent a great season for former Kilmarnock boss Shiels in his first season at the Brandywell, with a European spot through the league also on the agenda.
Cork, too, are still in the Cup mix and visit Longford Town.
DERRY CITY: Doherty, Vemmelund, McDermott, Jarvis, McBride (McClean 10'), McCormack, McNamee, McEneff, Patterson, Boyle, Schubert.
CORK CITY: McNulty, Bennett, Bolger, D Morrissey, Beattie (Sheppard 64'), Dooley, O'Connor, Mulcahy, G Morrissey, Browne, Buckley.
Referee: Dave McKeon (Portmarnock)