Limerick FC were easily beaten 0-3 by league leaders Dundalk at the Markets Field on Tuesday night. Goals from John Moutney, Pat Hoban and Michael Duffy gave the Lilywhites a deserved victory to maintain their lead at the top. The Super Blues have now went nine games without a victory following the demoralising defeat.
Dundalk began brightly as Robbie Benson fed Michael Duffy who skipped inside Shaun Kelly before shooting straight at Brendan Clarke. Dundalk took an early lead as Michael Duffy sent a deep cross into the box and opposite winger John Moutney attacked the ball to glance a header past Clarke.
The visitors fashioned another chance when a Michael Duffy free-kick found Sean Hoare who’s header was gathered by Clarke in the Limerick goal. The Lilywhites were dominating the early exchanges and a speculative effort from Jamie McGrath was saved by Clarke.
Stephen Kenny’s side doubled their lead and it was owing to the alertness of Robbie Benson. Benson picked up possession inside the area before scooping a cross in the direction of Pat Hoban who scored his third goal against Limerick this season with a deft header.
Limerick created their first chance of the game at the beginning of the second half as Conor Ellis pounced on a defensive mistake before placing a shot straight at Gary Rogers. Immediately, Dundalk responded when Sean Gannon picked out the impressive Michael Duffy but his weak header caused little trouble.
Shortly afterwards, Limerick’s miserable was worsened as Shaun Kelly was easily dispossessed by Chris Shields who played a perfectly waited pass to the onrushing Michael Duffy and the winger slotted home to ensure victory with a half hour remaining.
The Shannonsiders captain Shane Duggan was replaced by the returning Eoin Wearen. The midfielder almost had an instant impact as he set up Conor Ellis but Rogers came out to smother Ellis’ effort.
Killian Cantwell switched from left-back to right back and on one of his many second half forays forward, he unleashed a drive which travelled just wide of Rogers post.
The introduction of a host of substitutions coupled with the scoreline resulted in a lack of intensity in the final 20 minutes. Dylan Connolly caused Limerick problems with his pace after his introduction in place of Michael Duffy.
In the final minute, Billy Dennehy struck a free-kick over the crossbar which was symptomatic of Limerick’s recent form.
Limerick travel to Tallaght on Friday night to face Shamrock Rovers while Dundalk host Derry City at Oriel Park.
Limerick FC: Brendan Clarke, Shaun Kelly (Karl O’Sullivan 58), Tony Whitehead, Killian Brouder, Billy Dennehy, Cian Coleman (Barry Maguire 83), Killian Cantwell,Conor Clifford, Shane Duggan (Eoin Wearen 55), Will Fitzgerald, Conor Ellis.
Subs not used: Tommy Holland, Shane Tracy, Colm Walsh-O’Loughlin.
Yellow Cards: Eoin Wearen (66)
Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Stephen Folan, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey, Chris Shields, John Moutney, Robbie Benson (Stephen O’Donnell 74), Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy (Dylan Connolly 79), Patrick Hoban (Marco Tagbajumi 64)
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Brian Gartland, Ronan Murray, Dean Jarvis
Referee: Damien McGrath