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Hale treble lights up Derry City's return to Brandywell

Derry City 5-0 Limerick

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City marked their first game at the revamped Brandywell in style as they thrashed Limerick 5-0 last night.

Belfast teenager Ronan Hale, on loan from Birmingham, hit a hat-trick for the Candystripes.

The opening goal came nine minutes in when Conor McDermott produced a ferocious tackle on Shane Tracey. Hale picked the ball up on the right side of the penalty area and curled a spectacular effort over Limerick goalkeeper Brendan Clarke.

It should have been 2-0 before the half-hour after Rory Patterson linked with Aaron McEneff before the latter set up the younger Hale, but he blazed over.

The second came early in the second half when Nicky Low hooked it to Ronan Curtis, who found Patterson. He returned the pass, and Curtis finished.

Limerick were still recovering when Derry struck again three minutes later. The crowd almost saw a collector's item as Low, who has never scored for Derry, nipped onto a Patterson pass and chipped over Clarke only for it to bounce back off the crossbar.

The danger remained, and Hale managed to prod the ball into the path of McEneff, who slammed into the net.

Derry scored again on 70 minutes. McDermott burst down the right and dinked a cross to Curtis at the back post, whose pass to the right was met by a thunderbolt by McEneff. Clarke did brilliantly to save but it fell to Hale, who lashed in his second.

Hale was then hauled back in the penalty area by Billy Dennehy, and he slotted home the spot-kick for his hat-trick.

Derry City: Doherty, Doyle (Whiteside 86), Cole, Toal, McDermott, Ronan Hale (Doherty 78), McEneff (Delap 82), Low, Rory Hale, Curtis, Patterson.

Limerick: Clarke, Kelly, Whitehead, Coleman, Wearen (Fitzgerald 16), Duggan (Cantwell 74), Morrissey (Ellis 60), Tracey, Kearns, B Dennehy, D Dennehy.

Man of the match: Ronan Hale

Referee: Ben Connolly.

Belfast Telegraph

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