Derry City have put some breathing space between themselves and St Pats before next Friday’s clash at Richmond Park by beating Galway United 4-0 at the Brandywell.
The Candystripes now look odds on to secure Europa League action next season and will ensure it with a point against St Pats next week, but the Dublin side will no doubt be a tougher task than Derry’s opposition tonight.
Galway don’t have anything in the league to play for and are using every game until the end of the season to prepare for the relegation playoffs and it looked like they were in for another hammering when Patrick McEleney got Derry off the mark in the 16th minute.
The Derry winger picked up on slack defending by the Galway back four when a failed clearance by Eric Browne was pounced on by McEleney who beat Conor Winn to make it 1-0 to Derry City as Galway looked like they had a long evening ahead of them.
Winn was certainly kept busy and if it wasn’t for his efforts the scoreline might have been a lot harder for Galway fans to read as he kept out efforts from most of the Derry team, with Eamon Zayed being denied twice before left back Danny Lafferty headed home from a corner to double the Candystripes lead in the 34th minute.
Zayed eventually got on the score sheet, his eight goal against Galway this season, when Galway’s Steven Walsh handled the ball in the box after a Derry corner and Zayed made no mistake from 12 yards to make it 3-0 to the home side.
Mark Farren came on as a late substitute for McEleney and spurned a chance to score before finally putting the gloss on Derry’s deserved victory when in the 90th minute the veteran Candystripes striker got on the end of Stephen McLaughlin’s ball into the box and converted from close range.
Stephen Kenny’s side are now just one point behind second place Sligo Rovers with just two games remaining in the season, the pressure is on both teams to finish as high as possible.
A win over St Pats next week would be a huge boost to Derry while Sligo Rovers face a tough test in Dublin as well, when they travel to Dalymount Park to take on Bohemians before the last weekend of fixtures for this season is to be played.