Limerick FC reach FAI Cup Semi-Final for the first time since 1994 following victory over Galway United.

Limerick FC advanced to the club’s first appearance in an FAI Cup semi-final for 23 years following a 2-1 victory over Galway United at Eamon Deacy Park. Second half goals from Rodrigo Tosi and Shane Duggan ensured Limerick’s passage to the last four. Although Galway substitute Paraic Cunningham ensured a nervy ending for the travelling Limerick support as he pulled a goal back late on.

Limerick began brightly and winger Stephen Kenny’s shot from distance was just wide of Conor Winn’s left hand post. Just three minutes later, Limerick academy graduate Barry Cotter, who impressed on the night, met a Lee-J Lynch corner but his header was directed straight at Winn who comfortably collected.

Targetman Rodrigo Tosi linked well with Stephen Kenny out wide before the latter delivered a superb cross in Tosi’s direction. However, the Brazilian failed to connect fully with the header and Winn collected easily.

Galway’s first chance of the game came in the form of a Gavan Holohan effort from 25 yards which Brendan Clarke saved. Long-time Limerick servant Shane Tracy was recalled to the starting line-up and his 25 yard free kick flew over Winn’s crossbar as Limerick looked to re-assert their earlier dominance.

Approaching the half-time whistle, Limerick had a late scare as centre-back Tony Whitehead misjudged a long clearance which striker Eoin McCormack was first to react to before his attempted lob was well read by Clarke.

The home side had the opening chance of the second period but Kevin Devaney’s drilled shot failed to trouble Clarke. Limerick responded as Lee-J Lynch created room for a shot which Winn palmed away for a corner.

Shortly afterwards, the Shannonsiders took a deserved lead as top scorer Rodrigo Tosi was quickest to react to Conor Winn’s failure to hold a Stephen Kenny shot to tap home into the empty net. It was no more than the visitors deserved on the balance of play.

Limerick continued to dominate after taking the lead and good build up play between Tosi, Lynch and Kenny resulted in the latter blazing his effort over the bar from the edge of the box.

Just after the hour mark, the Super Blues did grab the all important second goal as captain Shane Duggan swivelled on to his weaker right foot before rifling the ball past Winn to the delight of the large travelling contingent.

However, the Tribesmen were not finished yet as Paraic Cunningham pulled a goal back following a scramble in the Limerick box. Limerick manager Neil McDonald and supporters would have been forgiven for fearing the worst, but they did a professional job in seeing out the game effectively to reach the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup Semi-Final stage for the first time since 1994 where the club were defeated 1-0 by Sligo Rovers.

Limerick were deserving winners on the night. Bastien Hery was superb in midfield for Neil McDonald’s men. The Frenchman won every tackle and his distribution and energy levels on the night ensured that Limerick dominated from start to finish.

Hery’s ball winning ability allowed Lee-J Lynch to have more of an influence on the game. Furthermore, David O’Connor and Tony Whitehead dealt well with the challenges they were faced with even if they may have been tested more had Paraic Cunningham started the game for Galway. The returning Shane Tracy and Barry Cotter also had solid outings for the visitors.

At the final whistle both players and supporters were overjoyed at the result. Limerick must now wait for the draw where they will meet one of Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk and Cork/Longford.

Limerick FC: Brendan Clarke, Barry Cotter, Tony Whitehead, Dave O’Connor, Shane Tracy, Shane Duggan Bastien Hery, Stephen Kenny (Joe Crowe 83), Chiedozie Ogbene, Lee-J Lynch, Rodrigo Tosi (John O’Flynn 85).

Subs not used: Freddy Hall, Kilian Brouder, Dean Clarke, Peter Berki, Henry Cameron.
Yellow Cards: Shane Duggan (21)
Red Cards: None

Galway United: Conor Winn, Colm Horgan, Paul Sinnott, Stephen Folan, Marc Ludden, David Cawley, Rory Hale, Gavan Holohan (Ronan Manning 75), Kevin Devaney, Ronan Murray, Eoin McCormack (Paraic Cunningham 67).

Subs not used: Charlie Burns, Alex Byrne, Conor Melody, Aaron Conway, Gary Shanahan
Yellow Cards: Colm Horgan (84)
Red Cards: None

Referee: Ben Connolly
Sporting Limerick Man of the Match: Bastien Hery (Limerick)