Limerick FC take huge step towards premier division safety with win over Drogheda.
Coming up against an already relegated Drogheda side, Limerick needed to bring a high intensity level to the game to avoid any slip up against the unfancied Boynesiders. Rodrigo Tosi had the home side’s first chance of the game but his weak header from a lofted Stephen Kenny crossed was easily gathered by impressive young Drogheda goalkeeper Stephen McGuinness.
However, the chance was not a sign of things to come as Limerick struggled to create another chance of note as the visitors grew into the game. In fact it was the visitors who produced the next dangerous moment as Mark Doyle easily evaded the challenge of Barry Cotter before crossing from the by-line which forced Dave O’Connor to clear the danger.
Approaching the half hour mark, Stephen Kenny cut inside before driving a low shot straight into the grasp of McGuinness. The Shannonsiders best chance of the half fell to Tosi who met a Barry Cotter cross at the back post but failed to direct his effort on target.
At the beginning of the second period, Limerick were handed the break they craved as Colm Deasy was penalised for dragging Rodrigo Tosi to the ground inside the penalty area and referee Andrew Mullally wasted little time in pointing to the penalty spot. Tosi calmly sent McGuinness the wrong way from the spot to give Limerick the lead, much to the relief of the home support.
Neil McDonald’s men had two chances in quick succession following the goal. Firstly, Chiedozie Ogbene cut in from the left flank before shooting well over the crossbar. Immediately after, Bastien Hery picked up possession on the edge of the box and forced a save from McGuinness.
Ryan McEvoy responded for Drogheda with a low shot of his own. Although Pete Mahon’s side were well in the game, they lacked any threat up front with former Limerick striker Chris Mulhall offering very little. Just five minutes later, Mark Doyle headed over the bar from a corner which reminded the home side that Drogheda hadn’t given up hope of salvaging a point. Adam Wixted was next to try his luck from distance but Brendan Clarke easily saved.
Drogheda full-back Colm Deasy was then dismissed for a second yellow card for a foul on Chiedozie Ogbene as hope slipped away for Pete Mahon’s men. Limerick introduced under 19 graduate William Fitzgerald and the winger had an immediate impact as he provided late chances for both Tosi and Lee-J Lynch which both failed to convert.
Overall, it was a dull game in terms of chances and entertainment value but Limerick took a massive step towards premier division safety with this win and a welcome clean sheet, their third of the season against Drogheda.
There are two games remaining for the Super Blues in the 2017 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division campaign. Limerick host Galway United next Friday night before travelling to Tallaght Stadium to face Shamrock Rovers on the final night of the season. They will be hoping to gain at least a point from the Galway game to ensure safety.
Limerick FC: Brendan Clarke, Barry Cotter, Tony Whitehead, Dave O’Connor, Shane Tracy, Joe Crowe, Bastien Hery, Lee-J Lynch, Stephen Kenny (William Fitzgerald 74), Chiedozie Ogbene, Rodrigo Tosi.
Subs not used: Freddy Hall, Killian Brouder, Dean Clarke, Henry Cameron, Peter Berki, John O’Flynn.
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Drogheda United: Stephen McGuinness, Colm Deasy, Dave Mulcahy, Kevin Farragher, Shane Elworthy (Conor Kane 32), Richie Purdy (Sean Russell 69), Ryan McEvoy, Mark Doyle, Adam Wixted, Jack Bayly (Lloyd Buckley 72), Chris Mullhall.
Subs not used: Luke Gallagher, Jamie Hollywood, Stephen Elliot, Stephen Meaney.
Yellow Cards: Colm Deasy (49), Chris Mulhall (61)
Red Cards: Colm Deasy (71)
Referee: Andrew Mullally
Sporting Limerick Man of the Match: Joe Crowe