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Curtis makes his a treble as Derry surge into the semis in style

Derry City 7 Shelbourne 3


Hat-trick hero: Ronan Curtis hit a first-half treble for Derry

Hat-trick hero: Ronan Curtis hit a first-half treble for Derry

©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty

Hat-trick hero: Ronan Curtis hit a first-half treble for Derry

Derry City are through to the semi-finals of the EA Sports League Cup after a 7-3 win over Shelbourne at the Brandywell.

Ronan Curtis was the star, hitting a first-half hat-trick as the Candystripes finished the tie within the first 45 minutes with five goals.

Derry didn't have to wait long to take charge, Curtis going clear twice in the opening 10 minutes and finishing well both times.

It looked all too comfortable for Derry but Shelbourne hit back impressively, David O'Sullivan netting twice - once from the penalty spot - to make it 2-2.

The Brandywell was momentarily stunned but the noise levels increased when Derry restored their lead on 36 minutes.

Eoin Toal had missed two chances from corner kicks, showing hesitancy in front of goal, but Ronan Hale showed no such reluctance, volleying home Curtis' pass to put Derry back in front.

The best was yet to come, however, and Derry added a spectacular fourth on 40 minutes when Nicky Low's chipped pass put Ben Doherty in down the left and his low cross was perfect for Curtis, who flicked the ball past Lee Steacy to complete a first-half hat-trick.

Derry were still not finished as Aaron McEneff scored from the penalty spot to send the hosts in at the break with one foot already in the semi-finals.

The second half passed by without incident but Shelbourne kept going and they pulled a goal back with 10 minutes remaining, substitute James English latching onto a long ball down the centre before volleying it past Gerard Doherty and into the roof of the net.

That was the wake-up call that Derry needed and they had the ball in the Shelbourne net within two minutes, John Cofie pressurising Steacy, who lost the ball 20 yards from goal, giving Low the opportunity to dispossess him and dink the ball into the vacant goal for 6-3.

Derry had the last say as substitute Nathan Boyle raced clear in added time to slot home his first goal of the season.

Derry City: G Doherty, McEneff, Rory Hale (McDonagh, 53 mins), Curtis (Cofie, 77 mins), Toal, Cole, B Doherty, Ronan Hale, Doyle (Boyle, 62 mins), Low.

Shelbourne: Steacy, McEnteer, Mulcahy, O'Sullivan, O'Brien, Kavanagh, Woods, Boyne (English, 53 mins), Doyle, Prendergast, Farrell (Evans, 60 mins).

Referee: Damien McGraith

Belfast Telegraph