Limerick FC endured a 0-2 defeat at the hands of reigning champions Cork City at the Markets Field on Monday night as two second half goals from Garry Buckley provided John Caulfield’s side with a deserved win. In truth, it was a professional performance from Cork. Limerick battled hard and defended well for long periods but were undone by two well worked goals.
Limerick were in confident mood following their surprise 6-3 victory over Waterford and Will Fitzgerald delivered a cross to the onrushing Shane Duggan who totally miscued his effort. Despite a positive start, Limerick looked nervy in defence in the early stages and were lucky to avoid conceding a penalty when Tony Whitehead pushed Graham Cummins in the box. However, the City striker was adjudged to have been in an offside position.
Will Fitzgerald was dangerous throughout the first half and good combination play with Cian Coleman allowed Fitzgerald the opportunity to shoot but his shot was unimpressive.
On the half hour mark, Steven Beattie was released down the right and he cut inside two Limerick players but his shot was deflected into the grateful arms of Brendan Clarke.
Limerick were almost caught out from a free-kick as Barry McNamee picked out the run of Graham Cummins who evaded the shackles of Mark O’Sullivan but his glancing header was collected by Clarke.
Within five minutes of the restart, Cork City took the lead. A superb diagonal ball from Conor McCarthy picked out Kieran Sadlier who in turn found the untracked run of Garry Buckley to slot home past the helpless Brendan Clarke. Shortly afterwards, the Shannonsiders surrendered possession but Sean McLaughlin fired wide from distance for the Leesiders.
Target man Graham Cummins fizzed a shot well wide following an impressive support run. It was clear that the enforced substitutions had negatively impacted the Super Blues in the second half. Both Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen and Karl O’Sullivan struggled to make an impact.
As we approached the last quarter of the game, the home side were lucky to avoid conceding a penalty once again as Killian Cantwell appeared to foul Garry Buckley. In any instance, Brendan Clarke produced a great save from Karl Shephard while Cork continued their protestations at the lack of a penalty award.
Former Cork City player Billy Dennehy was becoming more involved towards the end of the game and he advanced before crossing in the direction of Will Fitzgerald who failed to cleanly connect with the ball in a decent position at the back post.
Limerick had their best chance of the game as Karl O’Sullivan’s mazy run resulted in a shot from Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen which was blocked by Mark McNulty. Moments later, Cork extended their lead as Garry Buckley curled a beautiful shot in to the corner of the net to grab his second of the night.
Despite the defeat, Limerick remain eight points clear of bottom placed Bray after the Seagulls 2-0 defeat against Derry City. Tommy Barrett’s men enter a crucial game on Friday night as they face Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds. Ger Lyttle’s team are level on points with Limerick as it stands.
Limerick FC: Brendan Clarke, Shaun Kelly, Killian Cantwell, Tony Whitehead, Billy Dennehy, Conor Clifford (Karl O’Sullivan H/T), Cian Coleman, Will Fitzgerald, Shane Duggan, Daniel Kearns (Colm Walsh O-Loughlen 55), Mark O’Sullivan.
Subs not used: Tommy Holland, Shane Tracy, Jeff McGowan, Adam Foley
Yellow Cards: Cian Coleman (33)
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Colm Horgan, Sean McLaughlin, Conor McCarthy, Shane Griffin, Garry Buckley, Jimmy Keohane, Barry McNamee, Steven Beattie (Karl Shepherd 51), Kieran Sadlier (Michael Howard 89), Graham Cummins (Josh O’Hanlon 83).
Subs not used: Peter Cherrie, Alan Bennett, Aaron Barry, Conor McCormack.
Referee: Sean Grant