Seán Murray celebrates giving Dundalk FC a first half lead in tonight's clash with Derry City at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. (Pic: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile)
SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
Derry City 0-2 Dundalk FC
Seán Murray scored his third goal of the season and Patrick Hoban his first as Dundalk FC secured their third league win at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium tonight.
The victory - which lifts the Lilywhites up to second in the table, four points behind leaders Shamrock Rovers, with a game in hand - also stretches the club's incredible recent Premier Division record against Derry City to just one loss in 19 matches.
A competent team display, Dundalk showed signs of their best and that is surely what will please head coach Vinny Perth the most, as they put together back-to-back victories for the first time under his watch. Michael Duffy's return to the starting XI after injury was another positive aspect on a bitterly cold night.
Murray had them in front on 37 minutes, but the visitors could have been ahead well before then. Indeed, it took a wonder save from former Dundalk 'keeper Peter Cherrie to deny Hoban the opening goal from a close-range header midway through the half.
Derry, backed by a strong home support, played their part in an entertaining first period - and match as a whole - and weren't without chances, Barry McNamee and Darren Cole forcing last-ditch interventions from the Dundalk rear-guard as Declan Devine's men sensed a lead goal.
But once retaining their clean sheet, it always seemed likely that the Lilywhites would capitalise and they did when Hoban nodded beautifully into Murray's path for the breakthrough strike, with the finish striking a sweet chord.
McNamee ought to have pulled Derry level before the interval, but, symptomatic of the small margins in the game, missed and was almost made to pay on the other side of the break, Murray seeing an effort whistle just off target.
The former Watford man departed soon after, but his colleague, Hoban, made sure of the points by winning and then coolly converting a penalty on 52 minutes. His collision with Cherrie, which resulted in the spot-kick, saw the Scot go off through injury, as Dundalk's number nine banished the memories of his opening day miss against Sligo Rovers by sending Nathan Gartside the wrong way.
Derry weren't for giving up, though, and continued to fight and create chances as the match moved from end-to-end, with Duffy remaining an omnipresent threat for Dundalk.
The first away league triumph in the Perth reign; the first of many, supporters will hope.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie (Nathan Gartside 52); Conor McDermott (Eoghan Stokes 78), Eoin Toal, Darren Cole, Ally Gilchrist; Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, Greg Sloggett, Ciaron Harkin, Ciarán Coll (Aidy Delap 56); Barry McNamee; David Parkhouse
Subs: Gerardo Bruna, Evan Tweed, Josh Kerr, Gianni Seraf
Dundalk FC: Gary Rogers; Seán Gannon, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary, Seán Gannon; Seán Hoare, Seán Murray (Dean Jarvis 48); Daniel Kelly (Cameron Dummingan 86), Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy (Jordan Flores 90); Patrick Hoban
Subs: Aaron McCarey (gk), Stephen Folan, Dylan Hand, Georgie Kelly
Referee: Ben Connolly (Dublin)
OUR MATCH COVERAGE TONIGHT IS KINDLY SPONSORED BY CUSKEN LTD. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THEIR GREAT VALUE DEALS.