Derry City secured fourth place in the Airtricity League Premier Division following a 6-0 drubbing of mid-table Limerick.

Goals from Michael Rafter, Dean Jarvis, Simon Madden and a David McDaid hat-trick means City supporters will now be cheering on Sligo Rovers in next month's FAI Ford Cup final, as their European hopes rest with Ian Baraclough's men. If Sligo defeat Drogheda United, Derry will claim the last Irish spot in the Europa League qualifiers.

City as expected started on the front foot, and they went close to breaking the deadock on three minutes, but Rory Patterson’s powerful left-footed strike from 25 yards, rattled against Shane Cusack’s post.

Minutes later the Brandywell men deservedly took the lead after some terrible marking by Stuart Taylor’s men resulted in Michael Rafter being afforded far too much room inside the six-yard area and the striker made no mistake heading home.

Limerick started to get a foothold in the game after Rafter’s goal but Rory Gaffney’s left-footed strike whistled just past Gerard Doherty’s right hand post.

In stoppage time of the first half the Brandywell men should have extended their lead when David McDaid controlled Dean Jarvis’ cross inside the six yard box, but his low drive was kept out by Cusack’s legs.

McDaid did go one better on 47 minutes when he was first to react after Stephen Folan had cleared Patrick McEleney’s goal-bound effort off the line straight to the striker, and he had the easy task of side footing home from close range.

Just after the hour mark Derry added a third when Patterson’s cross found McDaid and he made no mistake blasting home from close range.

Jarvis added a fourth on 67 minutes after he made no mistake heading home Simon Madden’s high, looping cross.

McDaid completed his hat-trick on 70 minutes when some unselfish play from Patterson lead to the striker calmly side footing home from 12 yards, after Patterson’s cut-back had created the opening.

On 80 minutes Derry completed their rout when Madden superbly dinged the ball over the out-rushing Cusack, after Patrick McEleney's inch perfect cross had created the opening.

Derry City: Doherty, Madden (Osbourne 87), Molloy, McBride, Jarvis; McEleney, McNamee, McDaid (Foy 73); Rafter (Griffin 75), Patterson, Curran.

Limerick: Cusack, Kelly, Folan, O’Leary, Bradley, Gaffney, Sheedy (Rainsford 65), Hughes (Hanlan 78), Tiofack (McGrath 76), Murphy, Whitehead.

Referee: Mr Paul McLoughlin (Monaghan).