Limerick FC player profiles

With the Airtricity League First Division kick-off just two days away, We analyse the importance of goalkeepers Tommy Holland and Jack Brady as well as centre-back Killian Brouder. All three were involved in 2018, particularly Brouder who was in the first match day squad and was virtually an ever-present thereafter.

Killian Brouder: The powerful centre-back had been threatening to break into the match day squads for over a year before the arrival of long-term mentor Tommy Barrett. Barrett managed Brouder at under-19 level for three seasons and he was captain of the side for a year.

The academy graduate made his first appearance for the first team in 2016 against Cobh Ramblers as a late substitute, a year in which Limerick ran away with the first division title. It was the only appearance he would make all season. In August 2014, the former Newcastle West man was selected for the Irish under-17 side, much to the delight of the club. Furthermore, he has also appeared several times for the Irish schools selection in the past.

19 January 2019; Killian Brouder of Limerick during a pre-season friendly match between Finn Harps and Limerick at the AUL Complex in Clonshaugh, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

At just 20 years of age, Brouder showed great promise last season in a difficult year for the club. Much like teammates Will Fitzgerald and Karl O’Sullivan, he was unexpectedly used for the majority of the season, making 22 appearances in all. It would have been more only for an injury suffered at Dalymount Park against Bohemians. The youngster showed signs of real promise during the season, particularly in home games against Cork City and Dundalk, in which he did not shy away from the physical exchanges.

As the season continued, Brouder’s confidence was growing. He was beginning to become a threat from set pieces in the opposition box. There is no doubt that he is still very raw at Airtricity League level but a year playing against the likes of Pat Hoban, Graham Cummins and Ishmaeil Akinade will stand to the former Irish underage international in the first division this year. With a full pre-season under his belt, including being named captain by Barrett for a friendly against Cork City, which shows the faith placed in him, more improvement will be expected. With such a strong physique, supporters will expect the centre-back to dominate aerially.

One of the low points for Brouder came in in the promotion/relegation first leg against Finn Harps when a rash tackle handed Finn Harps a penalty which gave the Donegal side the initiative. Brouder was prone to those errors which can be expected at a young age in such an important position. Robbie Williams will be alongside him this season which should aid him. Concentration levels will be key if Limerick are to improve their recent defensive record.

Tommy Holland: The goalkeeper has taken a very similar route to Brouder as he spent four years in the Limerick FC academy. Despite appearing on the bench as back up to Freddy Hall for the whole 2015 season under Martin Russell, Holland only made three league starts. His debut came in a 1-0 defeat to Longford Town.

20 July 2018; Tommy Holland of Limerick during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between St Patrick’s Athletic v Limerick at Richmond Park in Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

The arrival of experienced goalkeeper Brendan Clarke at the beginning of the 2017 season, as well as the re-signing of Freddy Hall on a 2 year contract appeared to spell the end of Tommy’s time at the club. He left to join Carew Park in the Limerick District League at the beginning of the 2018 season. However, just two months into his time with the club, Limerick’s financial troubles forced the departure of both Hall and Clarke.

Tommy Barrett quickly contacted his former netminder at under-19 level and he jumped at the chance to become his hometown club’s number 1. One concern many people have regarding Holland is his slight physique. At Airtricity League level, he could be susceptible from set-pieces. It was a real worry last season but Holland showed absolutely no fear upon his return and came to claim many crosses to alleviate the pressure on his overworked defenders.

It was a baptism of fire for Holland who received little protection as Limerick were handed some heavy defeats. Despite this, Tommy gave a few man of the match displays. Without him between the sticks, it could have been embarrassing for his teammates on occasion. His manager has praised his shot stopping ability and that is certainly his biggest strength. His reactions were very quick and he is very agile. Barrett admits he is hoping that Holland can improve his distribution and believes he will become a very good Airtricity League goalkeeper.

Jack Brady: Brady signed for Limerick in the July transfer window from Friday’s opponents Longford Town. He began his League of Ireland career with Shelbourne when he joined up with Johnny McDonnell’s first team squad in 2014. He continued to appear on the subs bench for the Drumcondra side while appearing for the under 19’s.

In 2018, the 22 year old went on to make 5 appearances in all including replacing Tommy Holland in the first leg of the promotion/relegation play-off against Finn Harps in Donegal. Brady was frustrated by his back-up role in the side and has vowed to challenge Tommy Holland more ferociously for the number one spot in 2019.

The dynamic between Holland and Brady is similar to that of Brendan Clarke and Freddy Hall as both goalkeepers are rated at a similar level. However, both players will admit they are not as polished or experienced as the aforementioned Clarke and Hall. Barrett has stated that despite seeing Holland as the better shot stopper, Brady’s distribution is second to none. Both goalkeepers have had game time in pre-season and there has been no indication as to who will take the starting position on Friday night.

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