Mikey Sweeney came off the bench to fire Derry City Under-17s to victory against Finn Harps in the first round of the Mark Farren U17 Memorial Cup in Killygordon on Wednesday evening.
The former Swilly Rovers hitman finished off a perfect cross from Jack Parke at the near post, to register the only goal of the game as Gary Duffy’s side recorded their first win of the season.
Harps bossed possession and were the better team for much of the first-half but lacked a real cutting edge to seriously trouble Derry stopper Daniel Houghton, who produced a competent display between the posts.
Indeed, on another night the hosts could have been out of sight by the break but the lack of a clinical finish in the final third proved to be their downfall.
The nearest the home side came to scoring in the first period was from a Keelan McGill header which Houghton saved at point black range, the resulting phase of play finished with Niall McGinley heading onto the crossbar.
The Candy Stripes failed to trouble Harps net minder Joe Boyle in the opening forty-five but reappeared after the break with renewed vigour and lead by their talismanic captain Kieran Farren.
Farren, a younger brother of first team member Cathal Farren, showed his leadership qualities by leading from the front. A couple of robust challenges in midfield set the tempo for a strong team performance from the Candy Stripes in the second half.
But the home side continued to pose a threat going forward and the woodwork came to Derry’s rescue for a second time. The lively James Carolan created space on the edge of the box before seeing his effort strike the bottom of Houghton’s post.
Moments later, City almost opened the scoring when Daniel Ward picked up a loose pass in midfield. The Dungloe native picked out an intelligent run from Caolan McLaughlin who rounded the Harps keeper but Keelan Diver read the play superbly to clear off the line.
The deadlock was broken on 69 minutes when Ethan Harkin’s diagonal pass found Jack Parke on the right flank, he fired a cross to the near post where substitute Mikey Sweeney gleefully prodded home, to net his first competitive goal in a Candy Striped jersey.
Harps pressed hard for an equaliser but were met with great resistance by a Derry defence well marshalled by Ethan Harkin and Danny McGlynn.
City now turn their attention to league action this weekend, when they travel to United Park to face Drogheda United in the Northern Elite Division.
Derry City: Daniel Houghton; Dylan Sheerin, Ethan Harkin, Danny McGlynn, Calum Boyle; Jack Parke, Kieran Farren, Daniel Ward, Fionn McClure; Caolan McLaughlin, Conor McGowan.
Sub Used: Mikey Sweeney