Preston North End's Sean Maguire battles with Burton Albion's John Brayford. EMPICS Sport

Mixed fortunes for Irish internationals on Championship's final day

There was bad news for Preston’s Irish contingent, while Richard Keogh helped Derby secure a play-off spot.

THERE WAS JOY and despair in equal measure for the Irish representatives in the Championship today.

Though both were unused subs on the day, Anthony Pilkington and Brian Murphy were left celebrating, as a 0-0 draw with Reading was enough for Cardiff to earn promotion to the Premier League.

The result was also good enough for Reading to stay up, with Paul McShane coming off the bench for the Royals.

There was good news too for Richard Keogh and Alex Pearce, as Derby beat Barnsley 4-1 to confirm their place in the play-offs. Keogh completed 90 minutes while Pearce was on the bench for today’s game.

The Rams’ success meant that, despite beating Burton 2-1, Preston finished two points outside of the play-off places.

Sean Maguire, Greg Cunningham, Alan Browne and Callum Robinson all started in the victory, with the latter opening the scoring.

Limerick native Damien McCrory, who is currently injured, could only watch on from the sidelines, as Louis Moult’s late goal coupled with Bolton’s win over Nottingham Forest ensured Burton were relegated from the Championship.

Birmingham’s 3-1 defeat of Fulham ensured their survival. It also meant the Cottagers had to be content with a play-off spot — an appearance off the bench from Irish international Cyrus Christie could not inspire them to get the win needed to secure Premier League football.

Finally, though it was not enough to keep their faint play-off hopes alive, Dubliner Shaun Williams scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot, as Millwall beat Aston Villa 1-0 at the Den, with Aiden O’Brien also lining out for the hosts.

The visitors, who were already guaranteed a play-off spot before today, had both Scott Hogan and Conor Hourihane in their starting XI, while Glenn Whelan was an unused sub.

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