Two goals in eight second-half minutes gave Derry City maximum points and secured their top-flight status over a dis-jointed Limerick. Mark Timlin and Barry McNamee struck as Limerick failed to live up to the heights of recent weeks.
A first half where neither side got into stride saw both sides create little in-front of goal. Limerick fashioned openings from Shane Duggan and Dean Clarke, while the in-form Vinny Faherty shot wide following a superb through-ball from Lee-J Lynch on twenty-two minutes.
Stephen Dooley had gone closest for the visitors following a swift counter-attack from a Limerick corner. Both sides seemed to be lacking fluidity in attack as defences dominated the opening 45.
After the break re-start the Candystripes took control. They were quickest out of the blocks after the interval and were rewarded with a well worked goal. Ian Turner conceded a free-kick out wide and Derry deployed a training ground move that saw Mark Timlin in space to fire past Freddy Hall.
The lead was doubled just after the hour mark when a throw-in allowed Barry McNamee free to play a one-two on the edge of the area and in beyond Kanyuka to slot past Hall. A huge goal for City who are safe as a result of the victory.
Limerick could do little do rescue themselves from this position. Weak efforts from Faherty and substitute Shane Tracy did little to Ger Doherty’s goal, while Ryan McBride marshalled his defence well to another away clean sheet. This was their fourth clean sheet in five away outings.
Derry lost Patrick McEleney late on after the player suffered a punctured lung. The City number ten was stretchered off after lengthy treatment on the field. That was one sad note on an evening that will delight manager Paul Hegarty and his players.
Limerick meanwhile, must defeat Shamrock Rovers next time out and may also require points against Sligo Rovers in-order to give themselves a chance of retaining their Premier Division status.
Limerick: Freddy Hall; Shaun Kelly, Patrick Kanyuka, Robbie Williams, Seán Russell; Shane Duggan ©, Paul O’Conor (Shane Tracy 50), Lee-J Lynch, Ian Turner (Darragh Rainsford 70), Dean Clarke; Vinny Faherty
Subs not used: Tommy Holland (gk), Ross Mann, Paudie O’Connor, Cyril Guedjé.
Booked: Kelly (50), Lynch (73).
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Rob Cornwall, Aaron Barry, Ryan McBride, Dean Jarvis; Patrick McEleney (Aaron McEniff 89), Mark Timlin, Conor McCormack, Barry McNamee, Stephen Dooley, Mark Quigley (Ciaran O’Connor 67).
Subs not used: Shaun Patton, Ciaran O’Connor, Ben McLaughlin, Aaron McEniff, Séamus Sharkey, Ronan Curtis, Cillian Morrison.
Booked: Cornwall (24), Timlin (43)
Referee: Jim McKell
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Barry McNamee (Derry City)