There is still a mathematical calculation that could see Terry McMaster men’s still finish in the top ten in the league and secure third tier rugby again next season.
If Derry can get a bonus point victory at Seapoint on Saturday week and Blackrock defeat UCC with Thomond also defeating Naas then given points difference, the Judges Road men could survive.
Last weekend’s game against UCC was Derry’s final home match of the season and it was a must win game for both teams with the looser virtually doomed to fourth tier rugby in the AIL next season.
It was a pulsating game throughout with the home team losing 12-13 at the break.
That single point was still the difference at the final whistle as Derry put in an outstanding second half team performance with a gale force wind to contend with.
The home team were straight into their stride with the ideal start and a try within three minutes. Derry won a line out inside the UCC 22 through David Houston and the pack drove forward with Stuart Simpson almost getting in but hooker David Ferguson was on hand to touch down for an unconverted try and the perfect start.
UCC responded and were awarded a penalty on 12 minutes, they kicked for touch and a lineout five metres out from the Derry line and their big winger Killian Ansboro got over the line to score an uncoverted try.
Derry were right back into the attack from the kick off and scored when winger Adam Bratton powered past two defenders and touched down by the posts for a great team try and with Henderson converting, leaving Derry 12-5 in front.
The continual UCC attack yielded up a penalty 20 metres out and Kevin Kidney kicked to reduce Derry’s lead to 12-8.
Derry unfortunately missed touch from the penalty kick and winger Ansboro ran the ball back at Derry and with good support from his pack hooker Brian Vaughan touched down for an unconverted try and UCC were 13-12 in front at the break.
The worse start imaginable was bestowed on the home team from the kick off when UCC attacked 25 metres out on the right. Quick ruck ball and Kidney spotted a one on one to his right and with a beautiful chip behind the Derry cover, Ansboro cleverly beat his man for his second try and give his side a 18-12 lead.
David Houston scored an unconverted try to see the home side get back into the game at 17-18. The continued pressure from Derry gave Henderson a penalty chance and he made no mistake and moved Derry 20-18 in front.
The pressure from UCC eventually yielded a penalty and Kidney kicked from 22 metres to give his team the narrow win