Limerick FC bowed out of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup in brave fashion as a Garry Buckley goal was enough to give Cork their passage to a third consecutive FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium. The Leesiders certainly began at a ferocious pace, eager to make up for last week’s disappointing defeat at the hands of their visitors.
In the opening ten minutes, Garry Buckley missed a sitter for the home side as he failed to direct a Stephen Dooley cross on target at the back post with the whole goal to aim for. Soon after, Cork’s experienced captain Alan Bennett went close with a header.
Just moments later, the home side took a deserved lead as Cork overloaded the right hand side of the pitch and a delivery from Karl Shephard was met at the back post by the unmarked Garry Buckley. Buckley was having a real influence on the game in the opening stages and could have had a second goal, had he directed his header on target from a corner.
At this stage, Limerick begun to settle and gain a foothold in Cork territory. Neil McDonald’s men worked the ball to danger man Chiedozie Ogbene who beat Conor McCarthy twice before drawing a decent save from Mark McNulty. Good link up play between Rodrigo Tosi, who impressed on the night, and Shane Duggan led to the latter producing a fine save from McNulty as his shot took a deflection off Alan Bennett.
Limerick’s final ball was leaving them down on many occasions but the impressive Bastien Hery broke the trend in the 55th minute when his superb left footed cross was headed just over by Rodrigo Tosi.
The Shannonsiders continued to push for an equaliser without creating many clear cut chances. However, a goalmouth scramble ensued late on as Bastien Hery won a flick on at the near post from a dangerous Shane Tracy corner. However, nobody in blue could force the ball over the goal line. Limerick had one last chance from a corner when they sent Brendan Clarke forward, but Shane Tracy overcooked the delivery and the final whistle sounded shortly after.
Limerick players and supporters embraced after the game after a valiant effort. It was a disappointing result for the Super Blues but the players showed a lot of endeavour and pushed the champions elect all the way.
Neil McDonald’s men must now bounce back quickly and concentrate on the vital league trip to St.Patricks Athletic next Saturday. A win would all but secure Limerick’s stay in the premier division for the 2018 season.
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Conor McCarthy, Alan Bennett, Ryan Delaney, Shane Griffin. Conor McCormack, Gearoid Morrissey, Garry Buckley, Kieran Sadlier (Steven Beattie 80), Stephen Dooley (Jimmy Keohane 53), Karl Shephard (Achille Campion 90).
Subs not used: Alan Smith, Robbie Williams, Greg Bolger, Conor Ellis.
Yellow Cards: Shane Griffin (34)
Red Cards: None
Limerick FC: Brendan Clarke, Dean Clarke, Tony Whitehead, Dave O’Connor, Shane Tracy, Bastien Hery, Shane Duggan, Stephen Kenny Peter Berki 70), Chiedozie Ogbene, Lee-J Lynch (John O’Flynn 84), Rodrigo Tosi.
Subs not used: Freddy Hall, Joe Crowe, Killian Brouder, Barry Cotter, Henry Cameron.
Yellow Cards: Dean Clarke (85), Shane Duggan (90+1).
Red Cards: None
Referee: Ray Matthews
Sporting Limerick Man of the Match: Garry Buckley (Cork)