Limerick FC will continue working towards a probable two legged play off encounter at the end of October when they entertain struggling Derry City at the Markets Field on Friday night (kick off 7.45). Limerick will be looking to secure back to back victories having defeated Bray Wanderers 0-2 a couple of weeks ago.
The Shannonsiders are currently second bottom and 12 points clear of bottom placed Bray with a superior goal difference with four games remaining. As a result, it would take a ridiculous set of events for the club to finish bottom of the pile. Opponents Derry are two positions better off in seventh but are just twelve points ahead of Limerick despite the Super Blues tough season. Manager Kenny Shiels has come under fire in recent weeks for the club’s dismal form.
The teams have met on three occasions already this season with the Candystripes running out convincing winners twice while emerging as 2-1 victors in a tight contest at the Brandywell in July. Conor Ellis scored on the night for Tommy Barrett’s men.
Barrett will be looking for his side to use the upcoming play off games as motivation for his side. Although a place in the play offs is not confirmed, Limerick are eight points behind 8th place Sligo Rovers and barring a miracle, the Bit O’Red will escape the dreaded play off.
Scouting possible play off opponents will have already begun on Shannonside. Limerick will know all about play off favourites Finn Harps who defeated the Super Blues over two legs in 2015 to relegate the club to the first division. Despite the future direction of the club appearing uncertain, it would be in a much healthier position with the prospect of premier division football.
The play offs are historically quite difficult for the premier division club to negotiate. Having been on the receiving end of many defeats, you are then faced with the task of playing a team full of confidence who are winning every week. The one massive advantage for Limerick on this occasion compared to 2015 is that the second leg will take place at the home of the premier division side.
With such a young squad, the hope will be that Barrett can ensure focus is maintained for the next three weeks. Limerick cannot afford to go in to the play off games off the back of four heavy defeats. The onus will be on the likes of Shane Duggan, Barry Maguire and Billy Dennehy to command a high intensity from their teammates to ensure the attitude is right for such a big month for the football club and it’s loyal supporters.