Limerick FC travel to Dublin on Friday evening to take on Bohemians at Dalymount Park in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division (7.45 pm). Limerick are looking for their first win in five games following defeats to Waterford, St. Patrick’s Athletic, Shamrock Rovers and a draw with Cork City. The team’s last win came against basement club Bray Wanderers at the Markets Field.
The main problem for the Shannonsiders has been the clear lack of goal threat. Tommy Barrett’s men have scored just four goals in nine league matches so far this campaign. Despite changing to a 3-5-2 formation in an attempt to counter Waterford’s 4-4-2 and allowing a strike partner for Conor Ellis, the former Cork player failed to improve significantly. Furthermore, central midfield acquisition Barry Maguire endured a tough debut as he surrendered possession which led to the concession of the first goal.
Despite the club’s recent poor league form which has seen them steadily drop from fifth to eight in the league table, Tommy Barrett is urging his team to attempt to win the game but ensure that a draw is the least they achieve. Speaking to the club’s official website ahead of the crucial game, Barrett stated:
“Every game is a big game. There are no easy games. Bohs are a good side; they’re on the same amount of points as us, they have been in a sticky patch themselves before beating Bray, so I think it will be a difficult game for both sides.”
The Limerick manager has cautioned against panic due to the recent run as we begin the second round of fixtures in the premier division.
“Dalymount is a tough place to go. We’ll give it our best shot. There’s a long way to go; there are 36 games, we’re nine in. Of course, we’re going to try to win the game, and if we can’t win games, definitely away from home let’s try to get results.”
The Limerick native is aware of the threat posed by Bohemians and admits that Limerick have been monitoring the progress of Keith Long’s side who are level on points with the Markets Field outfit.
“We’ve watched Bohs a couple of times and we’ve watched videos. They can play, they’re physical, they have got some very good goalscorers – Dinny Corcoran, Eoghan Stokes, Keith Ward – they’re all good finishers, so we have to be alert around the box.”
The Limerick management team were dealt another possible injury blow with centre-back Darren Dennehy forced off at half-time last week. Mark O’Sullivan is ruled out as he continues his recovery from a broken hand. Former Bohs midfielder Eoin Wearen, Daniel Kearns and Danny Morrissey all remain doubtful for the trip to the capital. Limerick certainly need their experienced players to return as a lot of pressure is being placed upon the likes of Will Fitzgerald and Killian Brouder. However, more problematic is the lack of options available to Barrett on the substitutes bench.
Keith Long’s Bohemians side are currently above Limerick in the league standings due to goal difference. Prior to the victory over Bray Wanderers, the Gypsies were struggling in a similar fashion to their visitors. It was their first victory since the thrilling Dublin derby defeat of Shamrock Rovers on the opening night. Last weekend, Dundalk beat Bohs 3-0 at Oriel Park.
Captain Derek Pender and Rob Cornwall are doubtful for the home side. The combination of Keith Ward and Dinny Corcoran will have to be closely watched by the Limerick defence. Tony Whitehead and Darren Dennehy successfully defended an avalanche of crosses in the previous meeting at the Markets Field until a lapse in concentration allowed Eoghan Stokes to steer his header home.
However, the visiting defence cannot play as deep as they did in the second half at the Markets Field as it is unlikely that winger Paddy Kavanagh will have as unproductive a night as he had in Limerick.
2018 meetings: Limerick and Bohemians played out a 1-1 draw at the Markets Field in February. It was the Super Blues first home game of the season. Midfielder Cian Coleman gave the home side the lead before Eoghan Stokes scored an injury time equaliser to stun the vocal home support.
Referee: John McLaughlin