By Ronan Murphy
Ireland international striker Shane Long returned to the scoresheet for West Bromwich Albion as they eased past Southampton in a 3-0 away victory. Long scored the Baggies' third goal with a low drive, while Stephen Reid was also impressive for the visitors.
Seamus Coleman was in tremendous form for Everton as the Toffees triumphed 1-0 over Fulham. The former Sligo Rovers right back supplied the incisive pass for Steven Pienaar's decisive winning goal at Goodison Park.
Reading were relegated from the top tier following a scoreless draw with Queens Park Rangers. The Royals had four Irishmen in their matchday squad, with Stephen Kelly starting, while Ian Harte, Alex Pearce, and Noel Hunt were all on the bench. Harte was introduced with 15 minutes remaining, but could not make the desired impact as Reading's fate was sealed.
Wolverhampton Wanderers slipped closer to League One with a 2-1 loss at home to Barnsley. Kevin Doyle worked hard up front but could not produce a vital goal, while Stephen Hunt put in a good shift before being replaced by Northern Irish teenager Liam McAlinden.
Hull City missed out on the chance to seal their promotion as they were defeated 2-0 by Barnsley. Irish duo Robbie Brady and Paul McShane both went close for the Tigers, but Steve Bruce's side will now have to wait until the final day of the season to determine their future.
Daryl Murphy was on target for Ipswich Town as they beat Birmingham City 3-1. Having taken over with the Tractor Boys in the relegation zone, Mick McCarthy now finds his team in a comfortable mid-table position.
Scunthorpe United suffered the ignominy of relegation despite a 3-1 victory over Swindon Town. James Collins gave the visitors the lead with his 18th goal of the season, before an epic finale saw the Iron net three goals in quick succession to record a rare win. Midfielder Michael Collins was on target for Scunthorpe, but the result was not enough to save his side.
Yeovil Town finished in fourth position following a 3-2 loss to Bury on the last day of the season. Kevin Dawson scored for Yeovil in stoppage time, with the result setting up a playoff tie with Sheffield United. With the regular season over, Glovers striker Paddy Madden clinched the League One Golden Boot with 23 league goals and was also included in the PFA League One Team of the Year.
Lee Frecklington was on target for Rotherham United in their 2-0 win over Aldershot, guaranteeing them promotion to League One, and relegating their opponents in the process. Northern Ireland international midfielder Michael O'Connor was involved in the build-up to the opener, helping his side to a second-placed finish.
Jay O'Shea opened the scoring for Chesterfield in their 4-0 win over Exeter City with a long-range strike. Despite the victory, the Spireites could only finish eighth, just two points away from the League Two playoffs.
A 3-1 win over Scottish Premier League champions Celtic guaranteed Motherwell a place in Europe for the 2013-14 season, with Irish goalkeeper Darren Randolph in fantastic form for the hosts. Anthony Stokes was introduced from the bench for the Bhoys, but could only hit the post as Celtic chased the game.
St Johnstone recorded a narrow 1-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle to leave the battle for third place wide open. Aaron Doran played in some good set-pieces, but compatriot Richie Foran could not get on the end of them. Caley currently lead St Johnstone by a point.
Darren O'Dea was one of few Toronto FC players to come away with their reputation intact after the Canadian club conceded another late goal to lose 2-1 to New York Red Bulls. O'Dea had a solid game in defence, and could do little about either of Tim Cahill's strikes.
VVV Venlo drew 1-1 away to ADO Den Haag, ensuring that they can not climb out of the relegation zone with just two games remaining in the Eredivisie, and will have to play in the relegation playoff to stay up. Barry Maguire came off the bench for the visitors, but saw his side concede a late equaliser.
|IRISH XI OF THE WEEKEND
Goalkeeper: Darren Randolph (Motherwell)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Darren O'Dea (Toronto), Keith Keane (Preston), Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen)
Midfielders: Lee Frecklington (Rotherham), Jay O'Shea (Chesterfield), Michael Collins (Scunthorpe)
Forwards: Shane Long (West Brom), James Collins (Swindon), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich)