Limerick FC will play their final home game of the season against Wexford FC this Friday night with a huge cloud hanging over the club on two fronts.
In the last week, Limerick FC have entered examinership as it was reported that the business trading as Limerick FC, Munster Football Club Limited, has reported debts of €490,000.
An examiner has been appointed for a period of 100 days and one the main aims will be to aid the process of finding an investor to take over the club. The High Court said that the club have a genuine chance of survival if suitable investment can be sought.
Limerick owner Pat O’Sullivan had been in discussions with at least three different consortiums in the past but nothing came to fruition. Former Sligo Rovers manager Sean Connor headed the most recent consortium and even had meetings with the Football Association of Ireland and attended two home matches. However, the hardcore Limerick support did not welcome the news with open arms and no progress was made on a possible takeover.
Also, the Daly family, a family who run a local car sales business, expressed interest in investing in the club with a view to an eventual takeover. The Daly family sponsored this season’s home jersey but reports suggest that a fallout occurred when the Daly family felt they were misled by O’Sullivan. They later released a statement to distance themselves from the current regime at the club.
The Football Association of Ireland dispelled claims that they owed money to Limerick FC, which was claimed in the High Court. Limerick have a large list of creditors. Recently the FAI had stated that they were in constant discussions with Pat O’Sullivan in relation to preserving Limerick soccer in the city and are open to discussions with any other interested parties.
In an equally worrying development, the club are being investigated as part of a match fixing investigation. It is believed that two games involving Limerick are being investigated; the away league clash with Shelbourne in April and the recent FAI Cup game with Sligo on August 24th.
The Shannonsiders went 2-0 ahead in the first ten minutes through Karl O’Sullivan but eventually succumbed to a 6-2 defeat with three players sent off. On Tuesday evening, members of the Garda National Economic Crime Unit searched Limerick FC’s training base at Hogan Park during a training session and seized phones and computers for further analysis.
On the back of an horrendous week for the club, the FAI are confident that Limerick will see out their last three games of the season. Interim Chief Executive Noel Mooney has intimated that further announcements will be made during the week.
Long serving player and current manager Tommy Barrett’s future was uncertain before the news last week. Barrett has clearly stated that he will remain until the end of the season but declined to comment about his long term future.
Barrett first signed for Limerick FC as a player under Noel O’Connor in 2005 following a successful junior career with both Geraldines and Fairview Rangers.
He served the club with distinction for five consecutive seasons outside of a short spell with Shamrock Rovers in 2007. Also, Barrett returned to manage the club’s Under-19 side in 2014 and did so until taking the senior job last year.
During his tenure, Barrett has overseen the departure of over 30 players due to financial troubles and the club have reverted to fully amateur status, a move which saddens the former Fairview man.
On the pitch, following the Wexford FC game on Friday, Limerick are due to travel to Galway United on Monday evening, in the re-fixed game which was postponed two weeks ago due to a waterlogged pitch. Four days later, the Super Blues travel to Tolka Park to take on champions-elect Shelbourne, who may be crowned champions on the night, a feat which seems a million miles away for senior soccer in Limerick.