Limerick FC make the trip to the North-West on Friday night as they face fellow strugglers Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds in the Airtricity League Premier Division (7.45)
Both sides are locked on 16 points, albeit Limerick have played an extra game due to the midweek defeat against Cork City.
Limerick manager Tommy Barrett bemoaned the fact that Friday night’s opponents received an extra week’s rest ahead of a crucial game. Speaking to the club’s official website after the defeat on Monday, Barrett stated;
“Sligo and Bohs haven’t played. Sligo have an advantage going into Friday with us. They have an extra week’s rest; somebody has got to look at that. I don’t know why they haven’t played. I know they put European fixtures ahead but they could have just played everyone’s, to leave everyone on an even-keel. It’s not fair. That’s not me complaining or making excuses – that’s just the reality of it.”
The Super Blues boss has every reason to be angry. Despite many Limerick players being prone to injury in the past, 19 games in just over three months has resulted in an increase in the casualty list which the club could do without. Danny Morrissey, Conor Clifford and Barry Maguire have all fallen victim to hamstring injuries on various levels in the past week.
Despite the 0-2 loss to the reigning league champions and many absentees, the Shannonsiders will be pleased with their performance. They defended well and were undone by two well worked Cork City goals. Shane Duggan and substitute Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen had the best chances for the home side on a night when Mark O’Sullivan struggled against the youthful Cork centre-back partnership of Sean McLaughlin and Conor McCarthy. On a positive note, Eoin Wearen will return from suspension for Friday night’s game. It is unknown as to whether Wearen will return to central midfield or centre-back.
Danny Morrissey’s absence will be felt the most as he was showing signs of returning to the form which has earned him a decent reputation in Airtricity League circles. Also, Barry Maguire produced his best display by far against Waterford just over a week ago.
It is likely that the same back five of Clarke, Kelly, Cantwell, Whitehead and Billy Dennehy will take to the field on Friday although the only change could be Killian Brouder replacing Kelly with Killian Cantwell reverting to right-back as a result. A midfield three of Cian Coleman, Eoin Wearen and Shane Duggan seems the obvious choice due to the absence of the influential Conor Clifford.
Will Fitzgerald, Mark O’Sullivan and one of Karl O’Sullivan or Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen will feature as the front three in the possible absence of Daniel Kearns.
Sligo enter the game off the back of a 0-0 draw with Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds last Saturday. Manager Ger Lyttle will be without the services of Gary Boylan, Regan Donelan and Adam Morgan. Sligo defeated Limerick at the Markets Field just over a month ago and Lyttle feels Limerick are targeting revenge.
“We went to Limerick and got the goal and took the game to them, and it was tight. It’s going to be a real battle again and our reports from the last two games show a team with talented players that can hurt teams as we saw in Waterford. They may be targeting this game after the tough match with Cork
Meetings so far: This is the third meeting between the sides this season. Limerick were victorious in the first meeting in the opening day of the season thanks to a second half Darren Dennehy header. Sligo enacted revenge at the Markets Field with a 1-2 win. Rhys McCabe scored a wonder goal to open the scoring. Greg Moorhouse doubled the Bit O’Red lead before former Sligo player Daniel Kearns scored a late consolation.