Shamrock Rovers overcame Limerick FC in a low intensity end of season clash at Tallaght Stadium. Early second-half goals from Brandon Miele and Ronan Finn were enough to see off the Shannonsiders despite under-19 graduate Colm Walsh O’Loughlin netting a consolation goal.
In a slow opening period, the first chance fell to the visitors. Henry Cameron, who has failed to impress since arriving from Blackpool in July, glided past the challenge of goalkeeper Kevin Horgan before allowing the Rovers goalkeeper to recover and block his shot. After 30 minutes, Cameron’s free-kick was easily gathered by Horgan.
Lively Limerick winger Chiedozie Ogbene was constantly engaging right-back Simon Madden and the former Cork man cut inside before forcing a save from Kevin Horgan. Despite the home side enjoying most of the possession, Limerick were having the better chances.
Limerick should have taken the lead through William Fitzgerald as a poor clearance from Sam Bone allowed the Limerick winger to unleash a shot but fortunately for Bone, the effort was straight at Horgan.
However, Stephen Bradley’s men responded quickly as Brandon Miele got between Dean Clarke and Tony Whitehead before flashing an effort narrowly wide. Dave McAllister was next to try his luck for the Hoops but his low shot was saved by Freddy Hall in the Limerick goal.
On the stroke of half-time, Dave McAllister almost scored from distance but Hall pushed his long range effort away for a corner. From the resulting driven corner, Ronan Finn blasted the ball over the bar. In an uninspiring first half, Limerick were under pressure but had the better clear cut chances through Henry Cameron and William Fitzgerald.
At the beginning of the second-half, disaster struck for Limerick as captain Shane Duggan was adjudged to have dragged Dean Carpenter to the ground during a Shamrock Rovers corner. The penalty was duly awarded and although Freddy Hall guessed the right way, Miele converted the spot-kick to give his side the lead.
Shortly afterwards, the Hoops doubled their lead as Ronan Finn drifted in behind debutant Alan Murphy before engaging Dave O’Connor and beating Freddy Hall at the near post. The Limerick goalkeeper will be disappointed to be beaten in that fashion.
Limerick responded with a chance of their own as a neat one-two between Peter Berki and Dean Clarke resulted in the latter flashing a shot past the post which was touched behind by Sam Bone.
With ten minutes remaining, the Super Blues pulled a goal back. Tommy Holland quickly released Bastien Hery in midfield who set Will Fitzgerald on his way. The winger’s cross wasn’t dealt with by Dean Carpenter and a goalmouth scramble ensued with Colm Walsh-O’Loughlin quickest to react. It was O’Loughlin’s first goal on his second senior appearance.
Limerick did not manage to create another clear chance to force a draw and in fact substitute goalkeeper Tommy Holland produced a superb save to deny Ryan Connolly.
Limerick finished the league season in seventh position as both St. Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers could only manage draws with Derry and Drogheda respectively.
Shamrock Rovers: Kevin Horgan, Simon Madden, Sam Bone, Dean Carpenter, Luke Byrne, Aaron Bolger, Dave McAllister (James Doona 67), Ronan Finn, Brandon Miele, Cameron King (Ryan Connolly 59), Sean Boyd (Dean Dillon 75).
Subs not used: Tomer Chencinski, Cian Collins, Richard English, Darren Clarke.
Yellow Cards: Ryan Connolly (88)
Red Cards: None
Limerick FC: Freddy Hall (Tommy Holland 80), Dean Clarke, Tony Whitehead, Dave O’Connor, Alan Murphy, Bastien Hery, Shane Duggan, Henry Cameron (Karl O’Sullivan 60), William Fitzgerald, Chiedozie Ogbene, Peter Berki (Colm Walsh-O’Loughlin 72).
Subs not used: Shane Tracy, Barry Cotter, Lee-J Lynch, Rodrigo Tosi.
Yellow Cards: Karl O’Sullivan (69)
Red Cards: None