The Derry City Under-19 development squad return to competitive action following the four-week mid-season break when they host Longford Town on Wednesday evening at Wilton Park. A win for the Candy Stripes would see them move up to third in the table and into one of the top four placings, which secures qualification for the National Stages, for only the third time this season.
In preparation for their return to league action, the City youngsters brushed off the cobwebs with a challenge game against Newbuildings FC last week, running out comprehensive winners with a 7-0 scoreline. City were predictably dominant from the start and raced into a 2-0 half time lead courtesy of a brace from Stephen Duffy. There was to be no let-up in the second half as the goals continued to flow with Derry’s superior fitness and technical ability proving too much for the hosts. Matthew Duffy (2), Shane McNamee, Sean McBride and Ronan Wilson all registered scores in a one-sided second period. Despite the comfortable margin of victory, the game proved a beneficial run out for the squad before they resume their Airtricity League campaign on Wednesday.
Last time out Derry suffered a narrow two one defeat to Bohemians at IT Blanchardstown. City were well on top in the first half and were disappointed not to enter the break with more than a one nil lead courtesy of a strike by Sean McBride. But second half efforts from Steven Nolan and a penalty from Cian Fay secured the win for the Gypsies.
City started the season in style, defeating Dundalk 5-3 in a thrilling encounter on the opening day of the season, with Cathal Farren netting four times. Two defeats followed to St Pat’s Athletic and Shelbourne before Derry hit a bit of form winning four on the bounce against Athlone (4-1), Drogheda United (2-1) with substitute Shane McNamee hitting the winner five minutes from time), Monaghan/Cavan FP (8-0) Sean McBride helped himself to four goals with sub Matty Doherty also netting a hat-trick) and then completed a satisfying a 2-0 win over Ballybofey outfit Finn Harps.
Longford, meanwhile, go into the game on the back of a 6-0 defeat by St Patrick’s Athletic, their fifth loss in a row, a result which leaves Darren McGarry’s outfit languishing second from bottom in the table. Derry’s record at under-19 level against the Midlanders is superb with City only losing once in eight games since their first meeting in 2011.
The race for a top-four finish will be as competitive as ever with all bar three teams in the division still well in with a shout as we approach the halfway point this coming weekend. Three points against Longford would be a much welcomed boost for John Quigg’s side before they enter what could prove a pretty hectic schedule for the month of July.
The Candy Stripes are pencilled in for three league fixtures away to Sligo Rovers, Dundalk and Shelbourne, two home fixtures against St Patrick’s Athletic and UCD, the latter in the Enda McGuill League Cup 2nd Round and depending on the outcome of that game a potential quarter-final tie in the last week of July. Also with the Foyle Cup kicking off on July 17th a busy month lies ahead for the Candy Stripes.
As always there will be updates on twitter from 7pm.
Derry City Under-19 panel for this season: Mark McElhinney, Jason McCallion, Noel Doherty, Paul Doherty, Connor Gormley, Sam Todd, Kieran Farren, Rhys McDermott, Lee McColgan, Matty Doherty, Ciaran Deery, Adrian Delap, Dean Power, Matty Doherty, Shane McNamee, Matthew Duffy, Ronan Wilson, Evan Tweed, Denver Kelly, Cathal Farren, Stephen Duffy, Sean McBride.