Shamrock Rovers 0 Derry City 1
Rory Patterson kept Derry City’s quest for Europe on course with the only goal of the game at Tallaght Stadium.
This win for Kenny Shiels' Candystripes edges them five points clear of fourth-placed Rovers - who do have two games in hand - in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table.
Injury-hit Derry have thus stretched their unbeaten league run to eight games in a match remarkable for the fact Longford referee Ray Matthews issued 12 yellow cards, eight to Rovers.
In his last game in official charge, Stephen Bradley’s Rovers started with plenty of intent with Simon Madden twice getting forward down the right flank, on the second occasion his low cross just eluding the inrushing Sean Boyd.
Derry’s make-shift defence then had to scramble clear from a Trevor Clarke cross as Rovers maintained their bright start.
That said, it was Derry who had the first effort on goal on 13 minutes.
Aaron McEneff’s cracking free kick looked destined for the top corner before Craig Hyland got across to make a sublime one-handed save to push the ball out for the first corner of the game.
That sparked Derry to life as they went on to have much the better of the remainder of the first half, deservedly trooping off their match wining goal to the good at the interval.
Hyland would first produce heroics to keep out another free-kick from McEneff and then react well to deflect Ronan Curtis’s follow-up out for a corner.
That wasn’t fully cleared with Hyland again getting down well to push McEneff’s low drive round a post.
The pressure on the home goal finally told on 36 minutes.
A terrific cross from the right by Conor McDermott was met by Patterson whose downward header found the bottom corner of Hyland’s net for his 12th league goal of the season.
Rovers regained the initiative into the second half.
Madden had a penalty claim for handball waved away before Brandon Miele passed when well placed to shoot after a surging run on the right from Gary Shaw opened Derry up.
Visiting keeper Ger Doherty then made his first big stop of the game on the hour, deflecting Shaw’s shot out for a corner after Miele had played the striker in on goal.
Derry remained dangerous on the counter and really should have extended their lead on 67 minutes.
Patterson dummied a cross from Lukas Schubert to set up Barry McNamee who ballooned his shot over the top.
Rovers pressed late on with Trevor Clarke just failing to meet substitute Dean Clarke’s low cross.
Curtis might have added to Derry’s winning margin on 87 minutes, but for another stunning one-handed stop from Hyland.
Shamrock Rovers: Craig Hyland; Shane Hanney, Rob Cornwall, Dave O’Connor; Simon Madden, Brandon Miele, Patrick Cregg, Killian Brennan (Gary McCabe 65), Trevor Clarke; Sean Boyd (Aaron Dobbs 71), Gary Shaw (Dean Clarke 71).
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Conor McDermott, Niclas Vemmelund, Dean Jarvis, Patrick McClean; Aaron McEneff, Conor McCormack (Harry Monaghan 66); Lucas Schubert (Nathan Boyle 72), Barry McNamee, Ronan Curtis (Ben Doherty 89); Rory Patterson.
Referee: Ray Matthews (Longford).