Shamrock Rovers made it two from two on Friday night as they disposed of Derry City by two goals to nil in a game in which tempers flared towards the end.
Goals in either half from Dylan Watts and former Derry City man Aaron McEneff ensured Monday night’s Dublin derby at Dalymount Park will be a top-of-the-table clash.
Derry were almost through in the opening five minutes as a ball over the top from Eoghan Stokes caught out his former Bohemians teammate Dylan Watts.
Captain Barry McNamee a chance to break through but Alan Mannus was out quickly to clear the danger.
A lovely ball from McEneff found the run of Aaron Greene, who hit a good shot along the floor and Peter Cherrie did really well to get down low to keep it out.
Stephen Bradley’s men thought they had taken the lead just a few moments later as Dan Carr broke down the left hand side before looking up to find Greene.
The striker slotted the ball home from close range but the flag was raised for offside, to the disbelief of the Rovers players.
Derry were frustrating Rovers with how well-organised they were and getting stuck into the home side.
However good play between Sean Kavanagh and Carr opened up Derry defence and Kavanagh broke into the box before a last-second clearance from Patrick McClean stopped him in his tracks
Moments later Rovers took the lead. A bad clearance to the edge of the box allowed Watts to hit a perfect low driven volley into the net, giving Cherrie no chance to react.
Derry started strong in the second half. Winger Eoghan Stokes picked the ball up 35 yards out and hit a rasping strike which had Mannus scrambling.
Luckily for the former Northern Irish international, Stokes’ effort just hit the top of the net
Declan Devine’s side started to really put the pressure on and got their more technical players into the game.
Former Cork man McNamee almost found Eoghan Stokes with a lovely pass before Lee Grace came to the rescue cutting it out really well
Rovers defended resolutely against the Derry pressure and made a great chance on 65 minutes as Jack Byrne stabbed a ball towards Kavanagh, who flicked it over the defender, but Cherrie stopped him from getting a fantastic goal, diverting his shot for a corner.
Twelve minutes from the end and Roverd sealed the game. Substitue Vojic won a penalty after his shot was of being judged of handball ball by Robert Hennesey.
McEneff took the resulting spot kick and dinked it Panenka-style past Peter Cherrie to the delight of the Rovers support.
Derry went down to ten men five minutes from the end a rash challenge from Jamie McDonagh on Ronan Finn gave referee Robert Hennessey no choice but to send McDonagh off.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Ethan Boyle, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Dylan Watts(Greg Bolger 63); Ronan Finn, Dan Carr (Trevor Clarke 60), Aaron McEneff, Sean Kavanagh; Aaron Greene(Orhan Vojuc 73), Jack Byrne.
Subs not used: Leon Pohls (gk), Joel Coustrain, Brandon Kavanagh, Joey O’Brien.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie; Josh Kerr(McDonagh 45), Ciaran Harkin, Eoin Toal, Patrick McClean; Ally Gilchrist, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, Barry McNamee, David Parkhouse; Eoghan Stokes, Greg Sloggett (Gerardo Bruna 74)
Subs not used: Michael McCrudden, Ciaran Coll, Evan Tweed, Shane McNamee, Nathan Gartside
Booked: Josh Kerr (33), Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (50).
Sent off: Jamie McDonagh Red (85).
Referee: Robert Hennessey.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Dylan Watts (Shamrock Rovers).