Football

Irish Players Were In The Thick Of The Action On A Frantic Final Day In The Championship

Irish Players Were In The Thick Of The Action On A Frantic Final Day In The Championship

The Championship has maintained a reputation over the past number of years as being an absolutely mental league.

England's second tier has seen bedlam occur season after season, so much so that people don't bat an eyelid anymore. The final day is usually no different, with this season's conclusion being a case in point.

With Leeds' place in the Premier League already booked, the final automatic promotion spot and playoff picture needed clarity. Down the bottom, a multitude of sides had their future's up in the air going into the final day.

With all 24 teams kicking-off at the same time, there was bound to be Irish involvement. We got a lot more than we bargained for...

West Brom v QPR

West Brom were in the driver's seat for the final automatic promotion spot before they welcomed QPR to the Hawthorns. That was the case right up until the 34th minute, when Galway native Ryan Manning shocked the Baggies and gave Rangers a 1-0 lead.

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Their lead only lasted for ten minutes, and there was Irish involvement in the Baggies equaliser. From a Dara O'Shea pass, Callum Robinson picked up the ball with his back to goal at the edge of QPR's box. The on-loan attacker then slipped a through ball to Grady Diangana who fired West Brom level.

It was that link again that paid dividends for West Brom in the second half. Their roles were reversed as Diangana played a ball across from the Baggies' left. Robinson found himself in acres of space in the centre of the goal and knocked West Brom into the lead.

Robinson's contributions ensured West Brom's passage back into the Premier League, with Brentford losing 2-1 at home to Barnsley.

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Luton Town v Blackburn Rovers

Down the bottom of the table, Luton were desperate for a victory over mid-table Blackburn in order to ensure their place in the Championship next season.

Despite going 1-0 down, two own goals from Blackburn gifted Luton a 2-1 lead. That lead was then extended around the hour mark from the penalty spot. Ireland international and the Hatters top goalscorer James Collins made no mistake from 12 yards.

Luton, even with Wigan Athletic's appeal against a 12 point deduction pending, ensured their place in next season's Championship.

Nottingham Forest v Stoke City

Although not a huge goal in what's been a disappointing campaign for Stoke City, the Potters' victory over Nottingham Forest had a massive impact on Swansea City.

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One of Stoke's Irish contingent, James McClean, got in on the act in their 4-1 win at the City Ground. The margin of victory meant that Forest dropped out of the playoffs, allowing Swansea to take their place.

Bristol City v Preston North End

Two sides that didn't have much riding on the final day, but it's always nice to see Seani Maguire pop up with a goal.

The former Cork City striker delicately finished a brilliant move, the highlight being Daniel Johnson's sumptuous back heel.

Elsewhere...

There were an assortment of Irish players that played their part on the final day.

U21 captain Jayson Molumby may have played his last game for Millwall in their 4-1 win over Huddersfield. Ireland internationals Josh Cullen and Aiden McGeady both suffered relegation with Charlton Athletic as they succumb to a 4-0 loss to champions Leeds United.

Cyrus Christie and Harry Arter both played in Fulham's 1-1 draw against Wigan Athletic. Former Cork City man Sean McLoughlin also came on for already relegated Hull City in their loss away to playoff-bound Cardiff.

Olamide Shodipo joined Ryan Manning and Conor Masterson on the pitch for QPR in their draw against West Brom. Elsewhere, Alan Browne and Scott Hogan came on for Preston and Birmingham respectively.

SEE ALSO: Penneys Selling Special Jack Charlton T-Shirt With Profits Going To Irish Cancer Society

Sean Meehan

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