Derry City moved to within two points of fourth placed Waterford this evening as they saw off Shelbourne 2-0 at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
The Candystripes took a first-half lead through Joe Thomson, before Walter Figueira netted just after the hour mark to seal the deal for a dominant City.
Shelbourne – who came into the game off the back of a 1-0 home win over Sligo – almost made a horror start as Adam Hammill hit the crossbar.
The former Barnsley attacking midfielder saw his effort from 25 yards out ricochet off Jack Brady’s crossbar as Ian Morris’ side let off an early sigh of relief.
The Candystripes dominated much of the early stages – but it was the visitors who had the next effort on goal as Mark Byrne fired an effort straight at Peter Cherrie.
But they were not to be denied their opener as Joe Thomson blasted home past Brady in the Shels goal in the 19th minute.
Thomson wriggled free past a Shelbourne defender after some good play from Jack Malone, and the 23-year-old made no mistake to give the hosts a deserved lead.
Despite their poor start, the visitors reacted well to going behind, and they ought to have levelled moments later.
However, former Longford Town defender Daniel O’Reilly saw Dayle Rooney’s corner-kick just escape his forehead at the back post.
And after the flurry of Shelbourne corners and half-chances, the game descended into a scrappy encounter as neither side could create chances.
As the half came to a close, Derry almost doubled their lead, but they were denied by a fantastic defensive block by O’Reilly as the hosts went in one clear at the break.
The second period began in an equally drab manner as the first half finished as neither side could alter the flow of the game.
However, just before the hour mark, the hosts almost doubled their lead through on-loan Sheffield United forward Stephen Mallon.
Mallon got on the end of Malone’s cross against the face of the Shelbourne goal, but he could not direct his effort on target.
But just minutes later, the Candystripes doubled their lead through Walter Figueira who put the ball in the back of the net after a goalmouth scramble.
The former Waterford forward capitalised on some poor Shels defending to give Declan Devine’s charges a sense of security on the scoreboard.
Conor Clifford went close shortly after, but his effort on goal skewed high and wide over the bar.
To their credit – the visitors never gave up their fight – but they often lacked any real attacking conviction to claw themselves back into the game.
Substitute Jaze Kabia went close to halving the deficit with just under ten minutes to play, but he was denied by the alert Peter Cherrie at the near post.
Fellow sub Aaron Dobbs also went close, but his effort was easily saved by Cherrie, before Derry saw Hammill nearly make it 3-0 just three minutes from time.
Hammill linked up well with Figueira, but he could only curl his effort at the Shelbourne post in the last real chance of note in the game.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie; Ciaran Coll (Stephen Mallon 46), Colm Horgan, Cameron McJannet, Eoin Toal; Conor Clifford, Jack Malone, Conor McCormack, Joe Thomson (Ciaron Harkin, 70); Walter Figueira, Adam Hammill (Ronan Boyce, 89).
Subs not used: Gerardo Bruna, Jake Dunwoody, Nathan Gartside, Ibrahim Meite.
Booked: Peter Cherrie (72), Conor Clifford (90), TBC (90+4).
Shelbourne: Jack Brady; Aidan Friel, Alex O'Hanlon, Daniel O'Reilly; Denzil Fernandes (Jaze Kabia 46), Gary Deegan, Mark Byrne (Aaron Dobbs, 75), Oscar Brennan, Ryan Brennan (Shane Farrell 64), Dayle Rooney (Sean Quinn 64); Ciarán Kilduff.
Subs not used: Daniel Byrne, Colin McCabe, Brian McManus.
Booked: Aidan Friel (78).
Referee: Derek Tomney.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Jack Malone (Derry City).