Derry City secured their first trophy in six years and their 11th EA SPORTS Cup after a fantastic 3-1 win against SSE Airtricity League First Division side Cobh Ramblers.
In front of a packed Brandywell Stadium, goals from Ronan Hale, Darren Cole and Aaron McEneff proved to be enough to cancel out Christopher Hull’s first-half equaliser for Cobh.
The first big chance of the game fell on 18 minutes. Ronan Hale recycled an exquisite through-ball to McEneff but the midfielder couldn’t beat goalkeeper Adam Mylod in the Cobh goal who was forced into a fantastic one-handed save.
The pressure cooker eventually burst after 24 minutes as Derry City took the lead through Ronan Hale. Cobh defender James McSweeney made a mistake and ultimately failed to clear the danger for Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Hale to sweep in and finish past Mylod.
Cobh had failed to find any momentum going forward, but Dan Seaborne gifted Stephen Henderson’s side a chance to attack when his clearance only went as far as Denzil Fernandes. The midfielder made his shimmied pass look effortless before Kevin Taylor rolled a low-cross for Hull to tap in at the near-post – the perfect response from the First Division side.
In the second half, the Foylesiders re-established their lead ten minutes after the break. Ben Fisk found Cole unmarked inside the Cobh box from a left-sided corner kick, the Scot giving Mylod no chance with a sharp header.
Derry City took real charge after their second and things went from bad to worse for Cobh when Ian Mylod upended Derry’s Jamie McDonagh inside the box. Referee Ben Connolly pointed to the spot and McEneff stepped up to convert, despite the best efforts of Adam Mylod.
Cobh had a chance to pull one back with two minutes remaining when they were awarded a penalty of their own. Shane O’Connor stepped up but saw Gerard Doherty pull off a fantastic save and O’Connor could only put the rebound over the bar.
It was the final action of the game as Premier Division Derry City lifted the EA SPORTS Cup trophy, much to the delight of the home supporters at the Brandywell Stadium.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Dan Seaborne, Aaron McEneff, Aaron Splaine (Nicky Low 64), Jamie McDonagh, Rory Hale (Shane McNamee 90), Ben Fisk (Adrian Delap 75), Darren Cole, Dean Shiels, Ronan Hale, Kevin McHattie.
Cobh Ramblers: Adam Mylod; Kevin Taylor, Ben O’Riordan (Craig Donnellan 76), James McSweeney, Stephen Christopher (Charlie Fleming 61), David Hurley, Ian Mylod, Christopher Hull, Denzil Fernandes (Cian Leonard 81), Gordon Walker, Shane O’Connor.
Referee: Ben Connolly.