Four goals from inform striker Eamon Zayed was the highlight at the Brandywell, as a rampant Derry City put six past a woeful Galway United. In truth the result actually flattered the visitors as Derry could easily have been into double figures such was the dominance that they displayed.
Stephen Kenny sprung a surprise by selecting midfielder Barry Molloy at right back, with Eddie McCallion dropping to the bench. Derry came out of the blocks very quickly and Gareth McGlynn was causing the Galway rearguard all sorts of problems with some accurate crossing. Derry were camped in the Galway half and it only took until the seventh minute to break the deadlock, when Patrick McEleney picked the ball up 25 yards out and crashed an unstoppable drive past Greg Fleming in the Galway net.
Derry were looking ominous with Gareth McGlynn and Ruaidrhi Higgins pulling the strings. Then on 26 minutes James McLean picked the ball up in the centre of the park and marauded his way through three challenges before unleashing a shot which the Galway keeper could only watch as it nestled in the bottom corner.
Galway were beginning to get frustrated, and it was no surprise when Shaun Kelly was shown a yellow card for scything down James McLean. Derry were peppering the Galway goal at will and Zayed and McGlynn both missed opportunities to extend the home sides lead. Just before half time McGlynn sent in a teasing cross which Eamon Zayed bundled in to make it 3-0.
The second half brought more of the same, with Galway having their first shot on goal in the 54th minute, a speculative Enda Curran shot from 40 yards which didn’t trouble Gerard Doherty. Bobby Ryan then went close but saw his long range effort go just past the post. In the 66th minute, McGlynn crossed for McLean, his header was parried as far as Patrick McEleney, who sent a low drive crashing off the post.
In the 70th minute Stephen McLaughlin replaced Daniel Lafferty and immediately had an impact, crossing for an unmarked Eamon Zayed who hit the roof of the net on the half volley. Galway were reeling at this point and brought Gary Curran on to shore up the defence.
On 81 minutes a clever bit of dribbling by McLean coaxed Paul Sinnott into a foul inside the box and Derry were awarded a penalty which Eamon Zayed dispatched for his hat trick. Just before the end, Zayed grabbed his fourth, another pinpoint cross from McLaughlin, with a cool side footed finish completing a miserable night for Sean Connors weary troops.
A magnificent performance by the Candystripes, but on this showing you would have to fear for Galways’ chances of staying up, such was the difference between the two sides.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Barry Molloy, Stewart Graecen, Shane McEleney (Ryan McBride 80), Daniel Lafferty (Stephen McLaughlin 70); Gareth McGlynn, Ruaidrhi Higgins, Kevin Deery (Ruari Harkin 75), James McLean; Patrick McEleney, Eamon Zayed.
Subs not used: Eddie McCallion, David McDaid, Rory Kelly, Michael McCrudden.
Galway United: Greg Fleming; Shaun Kelly, Steven Walsh, Paul Sinnott, Shane Keogh; Eduardo Dusi, Bobby Ryan, Gary Kelly (Gary Curran 75), Karl Moore; Enda Curran, Mikey Gilmore.
Subs not used: Shaun Maher, Joseph Yoffe, Conor Winn.
Bookings: Shaun Kelly (29), Paul Sinnott (81).
Referee: Derek Tomney
Attendance: 1,200 (estimate).
Extratime Man of the Match: Eamon Zayed (Derry City).