James Akintunde's goal saved Derry City in Cork.
Cork City 1
Derry City 1
Derry City laboured to a 1-1 draw at Turners Cross but it was enough to secure their Premier Division status for next season.
James Akintunde’s equaliser 15 minutes from time saved the Candystripes from an embarrassing defeat to already-relegated Cork, but it ultimately didn’t matter too much as Shamrock Rovers defeated Shelbourne, who will now face a relegation play-off after Finn Harps beat Waterford at Finn Park.
It was a tepid end to a forgettable season for Derry City, who finish in seventh place overall.
It took half an hour for Derry to threaten. A good ball forward by Ciaran Coll found James Akintunde in the Cork area and the forward turned sharply to get beyond Cian Coleman, but just as he prepared to shoot past Mark McNulty, the defender got back to just get enough on the ball to deflect it behind for a corner.
From the corner, City came even closer when the corner was played all the way out to Conor Clifford 25 yards from goal and the midfielder drilled a brilliant shot through the crowd all the way onto the inside of the post where it bounced away to safety.
Derry came out determined in the second half but it was Cork who took the lead just before the hour mark with their first effort on target.
Conor McCormack was unable to stop Dylan McGlade on the edge of the penalty area, and the Cork man managed to squeeze the ball through to Beineon O’Brien-Whitmarsh, who hooked the ball past Cherrie to give the hosts the lead.
Conor Clifford brought a good save from McNulty as Derry tried to respond quickly but the Candystripes should have fallen two goals behind on 66 minutes thanks to another howler from Cherrie.
The Derry City goalkeeper inexplicably passed the ball straight to Cian Bargary and the Cork man had a completely open net but somehow sent his shot over the bar, an incredible miss.
That miss was crucial as Derry City equalized with just 15 minutes remaining. Conor Clifford sent Hammill away down the left and his cross was headed into the sky in the Cork area and when it came down, Akintunde arrived to power a header past McNulty to bring Derry level.
Conor McCormack came close to winning it late on for Derry, but sent his effort wide from close range.
CORK CITY: Mark McNulty, Henry Ochieng, Gearoid Morrissey, Dylan McGlade (Dale Holland 83’), Cian Coleman, Ronan Hurley, Alec Byrne, Kevin O’Connor, Beineon O’Brien-Whitmarsh (Cian Murphy 83’), Cian Bargary, Jake O’Brien.
DERRY CITY: Peter Cherrie, Jack Malone, Eoin Toal, Cameron McJannett, Ciaran Coll. Conor McCormack, Joe Thomson (Gerardo Bruna 54’), Conor Clifford, Adam Hamill, Walter Figueira (Ciaron Harkin 81’), James Akintunde.
REFEREE: Sean Grant.
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