Dundalk 1 – 0 Derry City
City fell to an opening night defeat in Oriel Park with a goal from Dane Massey ten minutes before the end separating the sides.
The Candystripes could not have faced a tougher test on the first night of the 2020 season, travelling to the side which has dominated domestic football in recent years. They were also to face a familiar face, with former vice-captain Greg Sloggett named in the starting line-up joining ex-Candystripes Duffy and McEleney.
Declan Devine opted for a host of new faces with Lupano, Clifford, Figueira and Nilsen all making their first competitive starts for the club. The side was led by new captain Conor McCormack, who starts his second spell at the club. And it was the visitors who had the brighter start, forcing a succession of corners in the open ten minutes.
The first half was for the most part a very scrappy affair, and took until the half hour mark to get going. Nilsen had a mazy run and his shot was blocked, whilst McDonagh shot wide. The home side gradually began to dominate as the half headed for its conclusion, the best chance coming when Duffy lobbed Cherrie but Coll was on hand to clear.
The Lilywhites continued their good form into the second half, with Kelly seeing his effort rebound off the angle of bar and post after a corner was only half cleared. Having survived a few early scares, City fashioned their best chance when McDonagh raced down the right and centred. Nilsen had peeled off his man but his header back across goal was well stopped by Rodgers.
The home side responded well, with Smith unleashing an effort that Cherrie was at full stretch to get a hand to. The home side made the break through with just over ten minutes to go. Flores with a pinpoint header and Massey finished well at the back post.
Having introduced Liddle just before the goal, Devine sprang Mallon from the bench to try and get City back on level terms. The visitors went more direct in the closing stages and although Dundalk sat deep, they were able to see out the game and take all three points.