Derry City and Bohemians concluded their seasons with a game that could be described as a typical end of season game where there was very little to play for at the Brandywell.
Derry named a more attacking formation with two strikers giving Mark Farren his first league start since his return from illness alongside Eamon Zayed, whilst Bohs also played with their usual two up top.
Derry began the game the much brighter of the two sides with numerous chances falling to Zayed and the ever impressive Danny Lafferty though it wasn’t until the 24th minute that either keeper was tested when a delightful chip from Patrick McEleney had Murphy scrambling back.
The rest of the half was played mainly in midfield with neither goalkeeper having very much to do with Derry just edging it performance wise.
Pat Fenlon made two changes at half time bringing off Forrester and Rossiter for Buckley and Hurley whilst Stephen Kenny opted to swap Higgins for James Henry. The first moment of any significance came when Lafferty stepped up to take a free kick from 30-yards but he ballooned it over and out of the stadium.
The game then followed a similar pattern to the first half with neither team seemingly too concerned given the fairly meaningless nature of the fixture. In the 68th minute however Stephen McLaughlin swung in a free kick which was headed goalwards by Lafferty and Barry Murphy did very well to tip it onto the post.
As a spectacle from then on, the game was pretty quiet and only when the final whistle went the drama began. A scuffle involving Christy Fagan and Emmett Friars resulted in both teams brawling in the centre of the park. The referee seemed to get control quite sharply and promptly sent off the two aforementioned players.
This concluded a tremendous season for last year’s First Division champions and a third place finish is a remarkable achievement considering the previous few years. As for Bohs, a fifth place finish is very respectable considering the difficulties the club face and it can only be hoped that they can find a way to resolve their present predicament as the league would be a much poorer place without them.
Indeed it was quite moving to see the Bohs fans march to the centre of the pitch with a huge banner reading “THIS ISN'T THE END”.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Eddie McCallion, Emmett Friars, Shane McEleney, Daniel Lafferty; Ruaidhri Higgins (James Henry 46), Barry Molloy(c), Stephen McLaughlin, Patrick McEleney; Mark Farren (David McDaid 80), Eamon Zayed.
Subs not used: Caoimhin Bonner, Barry McNamee, Eugene Ferry, Michael McCrudden, Thomas McMonagle.
Sendings Off: Emmett Friars (90).
Bohemians: Barry Murphy; Ger O’Brien, Ollie Cahill, Owen Heary(c), Liam Burns; Stephen Traynor, Mark Rossiter (Stephen Hurley 46), Chris Forrester (Keith Buckley 46), Glen Cronin; Anto Flood, Aidan Downes (Christy Fagan 84).
Subs not used: Craig Sexton, Roberto Lopez, Kevin Feely, Gary Burke.
Bookings: Glen Cronin (67).
Sendings Off: Christy Fagan (90).
Referee: Tom Connolly.