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Limerick FC play their third home game in a week as they host struggling Galway United at the Markets Field on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm). Limerick can cement their fourth-placed position in the league with a victory while piling on the pressure on Galway manager Shane Keegan in the process.
Limerick suffered a disappointing defeat to Cork City on Monday night in the EA Sports Cup. However, Willie Boland made ten changes and included debutants Tommy Walsh, Tobias Kainz and the impressive Barry Cotter as well as the returning Shane Tracy. Therefore, the defeat against the best ranked team in the country currently was not a big shock.
The focus of the club is clearly on the league campaign and the upcoming visit of the Tribesmen. Speaking to the club’s official website following the Cork defeat, interim manager Boland insists the players will quickly move on to the Galway game.
“The focus will be on Galway now. We’re in tomorrow. Obviously we had to focus on this game (Cork), but the Galway game was always in the back of our minds. Their league position might suggest that it will be an easier game but it won’t be. They will be well organised.”
Boland reckons that Limerick must be positive in their approach against Shane Keegan’s troops on Friday night:
“We will have a look at a few videos from the last couple of games. They are not on a great run at the moment so you would expect that they would come here and try to be solid and not give much away to start off with. It will be up to us to impose ourselves on the game. It’s a game we will be looking forward to and a game we will be looking to do very well in.”
The Limerick coaching staff appear to have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game. However, several changes will be made from Monday night with the likes of Shane Duggan, Robbie Williams, Lee-J Lynch and Rodrigo Toei expected to return to the starting 11. The Shannonsiders were totally dominant against Drogheda United last week. Despite this, the Markets Field outfit have looked particularly vulnerable from set pieces throughout the season, largely relying on the experienced Brendan Clarke to claim high balls.
Shane Keegan’s Galway enter the game in poor form and without a league win to date. They picked up their second competitive win of the season, but first of note, against Derry City in the EA Sports Cup this week. The visitors will definitely have to do without Maurice Nugent, Declan Sharkey and Jesse Devers. There also doubts over Paul Sinnott and Paraic Cunningham.
The Galway boss has urged his players to have plenty of belief ahead of the game.
“We’re going down there with every belief that we can go and get the win,” Keegan explained.
“Given the form that Limerick are in, and how well they played against Drogheda United, outside of Cork City and Dundalk, they’re probably the toughest test around at the moment.
Keegan admits his side must turn recent draws into wins very quickly.
It’s a really tough one, but looking at the positives, we’ve only been beaten once in our last six games, but we’ve drawn too many of those games. We’ve shown how hard we are to beat, and if we’re hard to break down, we’re in with a good chance.”
Limerick must keep an eye on danger man Ronan Murray who has four goals to date this season. Also, Vinny Faherty returns to the Markets Field in maroon and white, having finished the 2015 season as Limerick’s top scorer.
Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford)