Derry City win adds to St Pat’s troubles
St Pat's Athletic 0 Derry City 1
When asked earlier in the season what a UEFA Cup run would mean to St Patrick's Athletic, boss John McDonnell was quick to point out that they were unlikely to win Europe's secondary club championship and it was, therefore, not their biggest concern.
With that in mind maybe when all is said and done their European adventures might be remembered as a slightly unwelcome distraction, as their Setanta Cup campaign became the latest to suffer last night.
While the Saints have been busy doing Irish domestic football some big favours in their admirable UEFA Cup exploits, their own domestic form has been the most notable victim.
A defeat to Derry last night in a tight affair at Richmond Park means they have a big task on hand now to book a berth in the semi-finals of the cross-border tournament, and an away tie against Setanta specialists Drogheda.
Derry maintained their place at the summit of Group Two to ensure they progress from the qualification stage for the first time.
Kevin McHugh put Stephen Kenny's side ahead when he poked home from six yards after a Stephen Gray cross fell kindly in his path.
The Candystripes were knocking on the door in the minutes leading up to the goal, not commanding as much possession as the home side, but looking lethal every time they burst forward.
Niall McGinn, a player whose potential had Stephen Kenny itching at the prospect of the beginning of the season, has certainly gone some way in realising it over the last months and weeks, growing into the lightning-quick boots of his predecessor on the same flank, Paddy McCourt.
It was a swift and stylish passing game John McDonnell's men employed in Berlin as they produced one of their best performances in the UEFA Cup qualifier, albeit in a 2-0 defeat and it has been surprising that they have not done so well domestically.
ST PAT’S ATHLETIC: Barry Ryan, Lynch, Partridge (Rogers 24), Harris, Byrne; Guy, Dempsey, Fahey, O'Brien (Fitzpatrick 71); O'Neill (Kirby 45), Quigley.
Derry city: Doherty, McCallion, McChrystal, Delaney, Gray (Callaghan 12); McGlynn, Molloy, Deery, McGinn; Morrow (Farren 84), McHugh.
Referee: A Buttimer (Cork).