Limerick FC will take on Bohemians at the Markets Field on Friday night in the Airtricity League Premier Division as Tommy Barrett’s men look to build on last week’s 0-0 draw with Sligo Rovers (kick-off 7.45).
Despite missing at least six first team regulars through injury and Shane Tracy for personal reasons, Limerick picked up a well earned draw in the North-West. In fact, on chance creation, the Super Blues could have taken all three points as Cian Coleman and Daniel Kearns hit the crossbar with a header and free-kick respectively. Sligo’s John Mahon was sent off for two fouls on Mark O’Sullivan but the Shannonsiders could not break their hosts spirit in the final ten minutes.
Limerick will be without striker Danny Morrissey who is out with a long-term hamstring injury. Also, Cian Coleman is suspended due to an accumulation of five yellow cards. The game on Friday may come too soon for Barry Maguire and Conor Clifford who were victims of the heavy schedule faced in recent weeks when they suffered hamstring strains.
Darren Dennehy will miss out once again due an ankle injury which has plagued the centre-back throughout the season. Youthful centre-back Killian Brouder is also doubtful for the game. It is a position where Limerick have been plagued with injuries resulting in midfielder Eoin Wearen filling in on a couple of occasions. Left-back Billy Dennehy will undergo a late fitness test.
Brendan Clarke has been an ever present for the Markets Field outfit in 2018 and should line out behind a defence which will include Tony Whitehead, Killian Cantwell and Billy Dennehy (if passed fit) on Friday night. Due to injuries, Barrett is likely to select a midfield three of Wearen, Shane Duggan and Karl O’Sullivan if Maguire and Clifford are absent.
Mark O’Sullivan will be the first name on the team sheet as he is the only option up front in the absence of Danny Morrissey and Conor Ellis. Barrett has alternated his wingers all season for various reasons and Will Fitzgerald may get the nod after coming on as a substitute last weekend in Sligo. Daniel Kearns will line out on the opposite wing.
Both games between Limerick and Bohemians have been scrappy this season. It has been hard to separate them although Limerick will have to be mindful of the energetic duo of Eoghan Stokes and Dylan Watts. Watts in particular, caused Barrett’s side problems in Dublin with his clever movement off the ball. The absence of Conor Clifford may be telling as Eoin Wearen has been guilty of failing to track runners this season. Clifford has improved game on game and was afforded this responsibility before his untimely departure against Cork.
The Shannonsiders have shown signs of improvement of late especially in the defensive third. Billy Dennehy appears to have re-gained confidence while Killian Cantwell has played above expectation this season following a poor season with Finn Harps last year.
Bohemians travel to Limerick following a 1-1 draw with Shamrock Rovers last Friday. A late Rob Cornwall header rescued a point for the Gypsies and they remain three points ahead of Limerick in the league table with a game in hand. Following a difficult start to the season, Keith Long’s side have battled admirably to stay away from the relegation places.
Long’s side have welcomed back the likes of Kevin Devaney, Paddy Kavanagh and Rob Cornwall in recent weeks which has proved to be a massive boost to a thin squad. Oscar Brennan will miss out due to suspension. Goalkeeper Shane Supple has been released by Ireland manager Martin O’Neill to feature for his club. Supple has spent the last week training with the Ireland senior squad.
Meetings so far: Both teams have met on two occasions in 2018. Bohs snatched a late draw at the Markets Field in February as an Eoghan Stokes header cancelled out Cian Coleman’s opener. At Dalymount Park, the fixture ended in a scoreless draw. In truth, Limerick were lucky to escape with the point.