Limerick FC will not be in action this week as the Airtricity League Premier Division takes a break for a week to accommodate the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup semi-final ties.
The Shannonsiders enter the break in a positive mind frame as they effectively secured a promotion/relegation play off place after victory over closest rivals and basement club Bray Wanderers in Wicklow. First half goals from Barry Maguire and Conor Ellis provided the victory.
The result means Limerick are now 12 points clear of Bray with four games left with a far superior goal difference. Equally unlikely is the possibility of Tommy Barrett’s side catching third bottom Sligo Rovers as the Bit O’Red are eight points clear with a far superior goal difference.
Karl O’Sullivan was a star performer for Limerick and caused the Wicklow outfit a lot of problems. O’Sullivan provided the second goal for Conor Ellis despite a poor clearance from Conor Kenna aiding the former Cork City striker.
Despite O’Sullivan and fellow academy graduate Will Fitzgerald enjoying breakthrough seasons, one criticism hanging over both players was the lack of assists created for the team. However, in such a difficult season, it would have been difficult for any player let alone two teenagers playing at this level for the first time. The lack of fear and positivity both players regularly show during games could prove vital if Limerick are to face one of the top four in the first division.
The Super Blues also kept a clean sheet as Killian Cantwell has made a welcome return in the last two weeks to the team. Ideally, Tommy Barrett will hope to have Eoin Wearen back in advance of a possible play off which would result in Cantwell reverting to his usual right-back role. However, Wearen is still recovering from a knee injury suffered against Cabinteely in the FAI Cup.
Limerick’s next game will be at home to struggling Derry City at the Markets Field on October 5th (kick-off 7.45). Derry have endured a poor run of form as of late and are sitting in 7th position which is well below expectation at the Brandywell Stadium. Tommy Barrett will be hoping his players bring energy and a high work rate to the final four weeks of the season.
The last four league games for the Super Blues include, Derry (home), Cork (away), St. Patrick’s Athletic (home) and Waterford FC (away). Three of the aforementioned opponents occupy the top five positions in the league and will ensure that concentration levels are maintained on Shannonside.
The three possible play off opponents for the October/November play off showdown were confirmed on Saturday night. Old foes Finn Harps had confirmed their place weeks ago and were joined by Shelbourne and Drogheda United. Shelbourne and Drogheda will now face off before the winner takes on Finn Harps for a place in the play off final. All play off games will be two legged affairs.