Odhrán Crumley reports from the Brandywell Stadium
Declan Devine made the perfect start to his second stint at Derry City with a comprehensive 3-0 win over UCD at the Brandywell.
Devine had stated that one of his aims was to bring back the feel good factor around the club quoting that ‘famous Brandywell atmosphere’ in his programme notes.
It seemed that the Derry native got his wish on more than one front as the Candystripe support turned out in their droves and his players laid on a show, on the pitch.
The First Division champions started brightest without ever really troubling the home goal.
While Eoghan Stokes and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe looked sharp for Derry as a storming challenge from Ciaron Harkin on Jason McClelland drew both the crowd and his team mates into the contest.
Two minutes later, the deadlock was broken, a cute backheel from Junior found the run of Harkin in the box, who fired the ball across the face of goal for David Parkhouse to finish.
Seconds later, Parkhouse would come close to doubling his tally, heading Patrick McClean’s deep cross over the top.
The young Sheffield United striker’s goal was the difference between the teams at the break and would come close once again in the first action of the second stanza only to be denied by Conor Kearns.
In the 58thminute, the lead was doubled as Stokes’ speculative volley from 40 yards caught Kearns off, of his line.
Josh Collins could only head the ball into the bottom corner of his own net while in full retreat.
Stokes would finally get full credit for his efforts and cap a marvellous performance with a goal, poking home, a neat threaded pass from Harkin.
In the dying embers of the game, substitute Aidy Delap came close on two separate occasions only to be denied by Kearns.
However, it will all go down as formalities as the Candystripes go top of the Premier Division on goal difference after the first round of fixtures.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie; Darren Cole, Eoin Toal, Josh Kerr, Patrick McClean; Eoghan Stokes (Jamie McDonagh 72), Ciaron Harkin, Greg Sloggett, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Aidan Delap 85), Barry McNamee (Gerardo Bruna 84); David Parkhouse.
Subs not Used: Nathan Gartside (gk), Ciaron Coll, Shane McNamee, Ally Gilchrist.
UCD: Conor Kearns; Dan Tobin, Josh Collins, Mark Dignam, Liam Scales; Jason McClelland, Gary O’Neill, Richie O’Farrell (Kevin Coffey 72), Neil Furrugia, Timmy Molloy, Conor Davis (Yoyo Mahdy 80).
Subs not Used: Tom Murphy (gk), Conor Crowley, Sean McDonald, Luke Boore, Darragh Corcoran.
Referee: John McLoughlin
Attendance: 4,000 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Eoghan Stokes (Derry City).