Barrett extremely happy with spirit shown by Limerick during narrow defeat to Dundalk

Limerick FC were on the end of a narrow 1-0 defeat against champions elect Dundalk at the Markets Field on Friday night. Having been written off by many, Limerick produced an impressive display to push the much fancied Louth side all the way.

In truth, the Shannonsiders could have won the game as Will Fitzgerald, Karl O’Sullivan and Conor Ellis went close for the home side. A late Michael Duffy strike broke Limerick hearts but supporters were delighted with the competitive spirit shown by the team.

Manager Tommy Barrett was extremely happy with the performance from his young side, ten of which are under the age of 21. Speaking to the local media after the game, Barrett was clearly pleased with the battling display despite the result.

“I believe we have been punching above our weight all year to be honest. We were disciplined tonight. We had the better chances in the game. We tested their goalkeeper more than Tommy was tested.”

Barrett singled out midfielder Barry Maguire for praise. Often seen as a luxury player who is comfortable in possession but susceptible when asked to defend, the former Dutch international proved many wrong with a disciplined and hard working display. The Limerick management team had informed the player that he would not be playing but due to a late injury to Shaun Kelly, Maguire was drafted back in to the team.

“I wasn’t going to play Barry Maguire. I was going to play Darren Murphy in there with Shaun Kelly at right-back because I thought we wouldn’t have much of the ball but Barry was excellent. He proved to me tonight that he can do a job in that role. We had ten minutes to work with Darren Murphy who never played right back in his life. He has done really well against Duffy.”

One player who has struggled to make a big impression for large parts of the season is Conor Ellis. The striker’s performances have improved dramatically of late. Due to his time at Cork City, many forget that Ellis is still very young. However, in recent weeks, Limerick supporters are starting to see why Ellis was so highly rated by John Caulfied for the previous two seasons. Barrett believes the former Cobh man has regained confidence.

“He’s playing very well. He has got his confidence back. He was injured at the start. He’s only 21 and its hard playing as a lone striker at that age. Coming out of under 19s, he was expected to be the next big thing but Cork were winning and dominating. Our young lads did very well again including Karl(O’Sullivan) and Will (Fitzgerald).”

Limerick will face Dundalk once more in the quarter final of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup on Friday night. Following last week’s performance, Limerick will believe that an upset is possible. The club are looking to reach their second successive semi final having been defeated by eventual winners Cork City last season.

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