Irish Premiership: Newry relegated while Glentoran earn Europa play-off place

Newry ended the season four points adrift at the foot of the Premiership table
Newry ended the season four points adrift at the foot of the Premiership table

Newry City have been relegated from the Irish Premiership after just one season back in Northern Ireland's top flight.

Darren Mullen's side, needing to win to have any chance of survival, lost 1-0 at home to Dungannon Swifts to finish the season at the foot of the table.

Ards, who drew 1-1 at Warrenpoint, will play Portadown or Carrick Rangers of the Championship in the end-of-season promotion/relegation play-off.

Meanwhile, Glentoran secured a place in the Europa League play-offs.

The east Belfast side, requiring a point to end the Premiership campaign in seventh place, beat Institute 2-0 at the Oval.

Elsewhere Glenavon made sure of third place by seeing off Cliftonville 4-0 at Mourneview Park, fourth-placed Crusaders won 3-0 away to league runners-up Ballymena United and newly-crowned champions Linfield drew 1-1 at Coleraine.

How the drama unfolded on the final day of the Irish Premiership

Ards drew 1-1 away to Warrenpoint Town
Ards avoided the automatic relegation spot in the Premiership

Newry knew only a win against Dungannon would give them any hope of avoiding the drop, but they showed the same frailties that have cost them dearly all season.

Bereft of ideas in the final third during the first half, the hosts failed to take advantage of an uninspiring Swifts performance and paid the price just after the break when Paul McElroy's effort deflected beyond Andy Coleman.

Newry, who reached the top flight after four promotions in five seasons, appeared powerless as their Premiership status evaporated with the game petering out despite better pressure from the hosts.

Ards ensured they finished in 11th place with a 1-1 draw away to Warrenpoint.

The visitors opened the scoring midway through the first half when an Eamon McAllister cross was cleared and fell to 16-year-old Jonah Heron, who was only called into the starting line-up when Callum Byers got injured in the warm-up.

Glentoran's win over Institute sealed their place in the Europa League play-offs
Glentoran's win over Institute sealed their place in the Europa League play-offs

Heron's shot took a strong deflection off Eoghan McCawl and looped past Jared Thompson into the home net, but it was the teenager who was credited with the goal.

The hosts equalised in the second half through Philip Donnelly, who was alive in the box to get on the end of Francis McCaffrey's shot to stab the ball home.

Glentoran held their nerve to secure a Europa League play-off spot as Darren Murray's 76th-minute penalty and Marcus Kane's late header earned a 2-0 win over Institute.

Aided by a gale-force wind, the Glens dominated the first half with Nathan Kerr striking the woodwork from distance and Curtis Allen, Murray and John Herron also going close.

Murray netted his 74th-minute penalty after Allen had been upended in the area and Kane glanced in a Chris Gallagher corner late on.

Daniel Reynolds celebrates his equaliser for Linfield
Daniel Reynolds celebrates his equaliser for Linfield

Champions Linfield made nine changes to their starting line-up for the trip to Ballycastle Road and left Coleraine with a share of the spoils.

Dylan Davidson fired a sweet 25-yard shot into the roof of the net in the 33rd minute with Daniel Reynolds levelling with a half-volley two minutes from time after the ball fell to him inside the box.

The Bannsiders finish sixth but must wait for the outcome of next week's Irish Cup final before discovering the identity of their the Europa League play-off opponents.

A spectacular goal by Rory Patterson set Irish Cup finalists Crusaders on their way to a comfortable 3-0 win away to Ballymena.

Crusaders beat Ballymena 3-0
Crusaders warmed up for the Irish Cup final by beating Ballymena 3-0

The former Derry City striker swivelled to fire a left-foot shot into the top corner on 11 minutes.

Ross Clarke got the second with a deflected shot before half-time and Matthew Snoddy's well-struck low drive after the break made it 3-0.

Stephen Murray's double helped Glenavon to a comfortable win over Cliftonville to secure a third-place finish.

The striker put the Mourneview Park hosts in front with a fine turn and shot before Andy Hall's wind-assisted corner flew straight in.

Ryan Catney's Cliftonville career ended with a red card in the defeat at Glenavon
Ryan Catney's Cliftonville career ended with a red card in the defeat at Glenavon

Murray slotted home the third just before the break and Cliftonville's uphill task was made harder when Ryan Catney was shown a straight red card on 66 minutes for a poor tackle on Jordan Jenkins.

The resulting suspension ensured this was the last Reds appearance for the veteran midfielder while a disappointing day for the visitors was rounded off when Ross Hunter tapped in two minutes from time.

Danske Bank Premiership
Ballymena United0-3Crusaders
Newry City0-1Dungannon Swifts
Warrenpoint Town1-1Ards
Bluefin Sport Championship
Ballinamallard United0-5Larne
Ballyclare Comrades1-3PSNI
Carrick Rangers4-0Portadown
H&W Welders2-2Dundela
Limavady United3-0Knockbreda

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