League Preview: Derry City -v- St Patrick's Athletic

The Ryan McBride Brandywell

The Ryan McBride Brandywell Credit: John-Paul McGinley (ETPhotos)


Derry City take on St Patrick’s Athletic at the Brandywell as last season’s second and third placed finishers face off (kick-off 7.45pm).  

Commencing the first of three games in ten days, both teams will want that winning to carry into Monday’s matches against Shamrock Rovers and Waterford, respectively. 

The Candystripes have made a solid start to 2024 league life, an opening night 2-1 win over Drogheda United followed by last weekend’s scoreless stalemate with Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds. 

Despite just two new signings, forward, Pat Hoban enjoyed an impactful debut, registering an assist and a goal before being stymied by a resolute Sligo defence. 

It was a night in the wars for Ruaidhri Higgins’ midfield as Derry lost captain, Patrick McEleney and Cameron Dummigan to injuries before half-time.  On the seriousness of those issues, Higgins told club media this week:

“Both players were assessed by medical staff this week and thankfully Patrick’s injury isn’t as bad as we had first feared. 

“He’s had his best pre-season in a long time so it’s just unfortunate but we’re very hopeful he won’t be out for long.  The extent of Cameron’s injury still isn’t clear, but we’ll know more in the next few days.”

Adam O’Reilly and Jordan McEneff were the replacements from the bench six days ago and look set to start in the absence of McEleney and Dummigan. 

With a trip to Tallaght and home game with promoted Waterford up after this, the schedule certainly won’t relent despite Derry’s busy treatment table. 


The Saints started the season with a hard-fought win over newly promoted Galway United as Jamie Lennon’s strike earned them three points. 

Bohemians, though, inflicted a home defeat last week at Richmond Park, a Jordan Flores penalty five minutes from time condemning the Athletic to a first defeat of the campaign.

Speaking about their next opposition, St Pat’s manager, Jon Daly told club media:

"We need to go into the game with optimism and confidence and make sure that we acquit ourselves really well and give ourselves the best chance of coming away with three points.
“Derry are one of the few teams in the league that haven't had much upheaval.
“They've got some fantastic players within their squad that will pose a challenge to us.”

This, the first of successive away games, precedes Monday’s trek to the RSC to face Waterford before the Saints return home to Richmond Park, facing Dundalk next Friday night.

Referee: Robert Harvey. 

Match Stats

This is a meeting of the two most recently crowned FAI Cup winners with Derry lifting the trophy in 2022 before being eliminated on penalties by eventual 2023 victors, St Pat’s. 

Forward, Cian Kavanagh and winger, Brandon Kavanagh are set to make a first return to their former club having both signed for the Inchicore outfit from Derry over the off-season.  The latter scored, incidentally, for Derry City against his future employers in the final league fixture of last year. 

Derry City beat Pat’s twice, both home wins, in the league last year but also suffered their heaviest defeat of the season at the hands of Pat’s, a 4-1 thumping at Richmond Park in early June.

Betting: Home win 59%.  Draw 23%.  Away win 17%. 

Prediction: Derry City 2-1 St Patrick’s Athletic. 

Derry City:

Injured: Patrick McEleney, Cameron Dummigan, Ciaron Harkin, Colm Whelan, Sadou Diallo.

Doubtful: Patrick McEleney.   

Suspended: None. 

St Patrick’s Athletic

Injured: Tom Grivosti.  

Doubtful: None. 

Suspended: None.