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Disappointment for Irish contingent as Hull put one foot in Championship play-off final

Steve Bruce’s side effectively ended the tie as a contest with a clinical performance today.

Image: Jon Buckle

THERE WAS DISAPPOINTMENT for the Irish contingent on display as Derby were beaten 3-0 by Hull in today’s Championship play-off semi-final first-leg.

Irish internationals Richard Keogh and Cyrus Christie both started, while Jeff Hendrick was on the bench, but they couldn’t prevent a comprehensive defeat for their side.

Provided they finish the job in the second leg, Steve Bruce’s side are expected to face Sheffield Wenesday, who beat Brighton 2-0 in last night’s other Championship play-off semi-final, for a coveted place in the Premier League.

Abel Hernandez opened the scoring with a 25-yard shot in the 30th minute and the Tigers doubled their lead 10 minutes later when Moses Odubajo’s effort deflected in off Derby’s Jason Shackell.

Andy Robertson added a third goal on the counter-attack deep into second-half stoppage-time.

“It’s a big play-off game against a good Derby team and you don’t expect to win 3-0,” Hull manager Steve Bruce told Sky Sports.

“I think it’s the best we’ve played in a long, long time. When you’re away from home, to start with you’ve got to be rock solid. I don’t think they’ve had a chance.

“It’s testament to the team and the way they’ve worked.”

The former Manchester United captain added: “We worked all week at playing on the counter-attack. Derby went a little bit direct which played into our hands and then we could break.”

Hull’s victory was especially sweet for Bruce’s team as it was only last month that they suffered a 4-0 thrashing at Derby’s iPro Stadium.

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Derby were the only team to win a regular-season Championship match at Hull this term and they must do so again on Tuesday if they are to reach the final.

“We need to go and enjoy the game, we’ve got to be ready and focused for Tuesday and make sure we get the job done,” Bruce said.

The winners of the Championship play-off final at Wembley on May 28 will secure the third and final promotion place to the lucrative English Premier League, joining Burnley and Middlesbrough, who took the two automatic spots.

Additional reporting by Paul Fennessy

© – AFP 2016

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