Derry City finished fourth in the Airtricity League Premier Division after they hammered Limerick 6-0 at the Brandywell.
Declan Devine’s team now need Sligo Rovers to beat Drogheda United in the FAI Ford Cup final next Sunday if they are to secure a place in next season’s UEFA Europa League competition.
The next week or so will be A nervous wait for all involved with Derry City but they can take great comfort from the fact they finished the 2013 season on a utterly magnificent high at the Brandywell.
David McDaid netted a hat-trick and goals from Michael Rafter, Dean Jarvis and Simon Madden made it six.
Derry City started the first half at a ferocious pace and after Rory Patterson hit the post early on they were rewarded moments later when Michael Rafter found the back of the net in the seventh minute.
Simon Madden sent the ball towards the back post but Limerick defender Stephen Folan made a school boy error and headed the ball back across goal. Rafter reacted well and with a glancing header, put the ball past Shane Cusack.
Derry gave the ball away in the eighth minute but Rory Gaffney’s long range effort went wide of the post.
David McDaid was through on goal moments later but thanks to a last ditch tackle from Tony Whitehead the visitors managed to keep the scoreline at 1-0.
As the game edged closer to the half hour mark Limerick started to settle.
Carek Tiofack proved troublesome for the Derry defence and Eddie Hickey’s managed to get in behind the Derry defence in 27th minute only for Barry Molloy to clear the ball at the last minute.
Derry’s Rory Patterson gave away a needless free in the 35th minute and from the resulting set piece Barry Sheedy attempted an overhead kick but his effort went over the bar.
Barry Sheedy headed an effort wide of the near post in the 44th minute.
Despite starting the game well Derry looked disorganised towards the end of the first half and few could argue that Limerick enjoyed the majority of possession.
However, Declan Devine’s men almost doubled their lead on the stroke of half time when Dean Jarvis found David McDaid at the back post. McDaid reacted brilliantly, got his shot on goal but Cusack denied the Derry forward with his feet.
The Candy Stripes started the second half like they did the first when David McDaid grabbed Derry’s second in the 47th minute.
Patrick McEleney went on one of his majestic jaunts down the left and took the ball to the touchline before pulling a pass back across the face of goal. McEleneny’s pass came off the arm of a Limerick defender but McDaid blasted the ball into the net.
McDaid netted his second and Derry’s third in the 61st minute.
The Candy Stripes hit Limerick on the counter attack and Rory Patterson found McDaid with the most delicate of chips from the edge of the area on the right. McDaid chested the ball down and blasted into the net from close range.
The Foylesiders scored their fourth in the 67th minute when Dean Jarvis popped up to head Barry McNamee’s cross into the net.
A bit like the rain, the goals just kept on coming for Derry and David McDaid secured his hat-trick when he got on the end of a great pass from Rory Patterson and fired the ball into the net from just outside the six yard box.
Patrick McEleney played an amazing pass through the centre of the Limerick defence in the 79th minute. Simon Madden reacted brilliantly, waited and chipped the ball over the head of Cusack to make it six.
Derry were denied a seventh when Cusack reacted well to stop Ryan Curran’s header on the line in the 88th minute.
DERRY CITY: Gerard Doherty; Dean Jarvis, Ryan McBride, Simon Madden (Eoghan Osborne 87 mins), Barry McNamee, Barry Molloy; Patrick McEleney, David McDaid (Raymond Foy 73 mins), Ryan Curran; Michael Rafter (Mark Griffin 76 mins), Rory Patterson.
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry. Patrick Kavanagh, Michael Duffy.
LIMERICK FC: Shane Cusack; Shaun Kelly, Stephen Folan, David O’Leary, Stephen Bradley; Rory Gaffney, Barry Sheedy (Darragh Rainsford 64 mins), Jason Hughes (Kieran Hanlan 78 mins); Carel Tiofack (James McGrath 76 mins), Tony Whitehead.
Subs not used: Rob Williams, Nathan Murray, Shane Costelloe, Val Feeney.
REFEREE: Mr. Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan).