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Championship: How Northern Ireland stars fared on final day as Stuart Dallas scored in Leeds coronation and Chris Brunt helped West Brom to dramatic promotion

 

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Stuart Dallas shows off the Championship trophy.

Stuart Dallas shows off the Championship trophy.

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Stuart Dallas shows off the Championship trophy.

It was a dramatic final night in the Championship with permutations aplenty for the division's Northern Ireland internationals.

Here's a look at which of them had something significant riding on the final day and how it went:

Champion: Stuart Dallas (Leeds)

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Stuart Dallas (front left) leads the Leeds celebrations after his side picked up the Championship trophy.

Stuart Dallas (front left) leads the Leeds celebrations after his side picked up the Championship trophy.

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Stuart Dallas (front left) leads the Leeds celebrations after his side picked up the Championship trophy.

 

Leeds, like Liverpool, had the league title won in advance and could enter their final game safe in the knowledge that it would end with a trophy presentation regardless of the result.

They still wanted to end their victorious campaign with a final flourish at Elland Road and did just that with a 3-0 victory over Charlton.

In contention for the club's Player of the Season award is Northern Ireland full-back Stuart Dallas and he ended his own campaign in perfect fashion, scoring his side's second goal of the evening.

Promoted: Chris Brunt (West Brom)

While club captain Chris Brunt won't get another season in the Premier League, he at least signed off his 13 year West Brom career in perfect style on a dramatic promotion-winning evening.

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Final farewell: Chris Brunt is leaving West Brom after 13 years

Final farewell: Chris Brunt is leaving West Brom after 13 years

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Final farewell: Chris Brunt is leaving West Brom after 13 years

 

The Baggies went into the last game knowing a win would guarantee a top tier place ahead of Brentford and Fulham.

In the end, they had to make do with a 2-2 draw at home to QPR but that proved enough as Fulham drew with Wigan and Brentford fell to an unexpected 2-1 defeat to Barnsley, who hauled themselves out of the relegation zone in the process.

It had been touch-and-go until Barnsley's injury-time winner and, as they looked to edge over the line, boss Slaven Bilic turned to Brunt's experience, introducing the former Northern Ireland international as a 71st minute substitute for only his seventh league appearance of the campaign, all from the bench

It meant Brunt could greet the promotion-winning moment from the pitch with the captain's armband on - the perfect send-off for a club hero.

Relegated: Grant McCann and Josh Magennis (Hull City)

The struggles of Hull City have been well documented since the turn of the year.

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Grant McCann's side finished bottom of the league.

Grant McCann's side finished bottom of the league.

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Grant McCann's side finished bottom of the league.

 

Their 2-0 final day defeat to a Cardiff City side that secured a play-off place meant McCann's men took only six points from their final 20 league games of the season and ended up in last place.

They had, until January, looked relatively comfortable although the sale of their two top scorers Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki on transfer deadline day did their playing prospects little favours.

The spotlight remains on owner Assem Allam, who has a chequered relationship with supporters, from his attempts to rename the club ‘Hull Tigers’ in 2013 to the removal of concession match tickets in 2016 – a decision which would be reversed three years later.

Nonetheless, fans are still asking questions of the manager who took the reins last summer, having guided Doncaster Rovers to the League One play-off the previous season.

McCann has already indicated his thoughts are turning to preparing the club for the new season in the third tier but the question is whether or not he will be given the opportunity.

For striker Josh Magennis, it's a second relegation from the Championship in a row, as he also suffered the drop with Bolton last term.

Staying up: Paddy McNair and George Saville (Middlesbrough)

Middlesbrough went into the final round of fixtures just two points clear of the relegation places and still fighting for survival.

In the end, as Hull, Charlton and Wigan all failed to win, Boro's result was immaterial but it ended up an extra pleasing night for Northern Ireland midfielder Paddy McNair, who netted his sixth league goal of the season, making it his most prolific campaign so far.

An injury-time winner earned Boro a 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday, where Saville also started.

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McNair celebrates his goal with international team-mate George Saville.

McNair celebrates his goal with international team-mate George Saville.

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McNair celebrates his goal with international team-mate George Saville.

 

Play-off denier: Michael O'Neill (Stoke City)

Michael O'Neill had already completed the great escape with Stoke City ahead of the final day but put the finishing touches on the campaign with a surprise 4-1 win to deny Nottingham Forest a play-off by the most agonising of margins.

Amongst the goals was Republic of Ireland winger James McClean.

The result meant Stoke finished the season eight points clear of the bottom three but, more importantly, it was enough to deny their hosts a place in the play-offs.

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It's job done at the end of Michael O'Neill's first season at Stoke.

It's job done at the end of Michael O'Neill's first season at Stoke.

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It's job done at the end of Michael O'Neill's first season at Stoke.

It had looked unthinkable before the game, with Forest three points clear of Swansea and five goals better off. That was overhauled in the most dramatic of fashions as Liam Cullen's 84th minute goal sealed a 4-1 win for Swansea to seal sixth place on goal difference.

Belfast Telegraph