Limerick FC make their third trip to Dublin in quick succession as they take on Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division (kick-off 8pm).
Limerick are searching for their first win in nine games following Tuesday’s defeat to Dundalk. Their illustrious hosts are looking to bounce back from a disastrous week where they suffered defeats at the hands of struggling Bohemians and Bray Wanderers. The Shannonsiders will certainly be ungrateful towards their hosts who lost to both Limerick’s main rivals in the relegation scrap.
Unsurprisingly, Limerick were brushed aside by a far superior Dundalk side at the Markets Field on Tuesday night. Goals from John Moutney, Pat Hoban and Michael Duffy provided the victory for Stephen Kenny’s league leaders. Despite Limerick’s poor form, Tuesday evening was still effectively a free shot against a side who have conceded just one goal in eleven league outings.
On a positive note, Conor Ellis worked tirelessly for Limerick and got in behind the Dundalk defence on two occasions only to be foiled by the experience Gary Rogers. Eoin Wearen returned from injury and supplied a perfectly waited through ball for Ellis. The presence of another midfield option is another positive for the Limerick management team.
Manager Tommy Barrett was disappointed at the manner of the concession of the goals but recoginised how difficult the task was for his team. Listen to Barrett’s thoughts below:
Daniel Kearns, Darren Dennehy, Mark O’Sullivan and Danny Morrissey’s susceptibility to injuries is a big concern. Having played ten minutes after injury last Saturday evening, Kearns was once again unavailable for Tuesday’s game while Dennehy appears to be struggling to shake off an ankle injury. Danny Morrissey failed a late fitness test.
Unfortunately, all three players have suffered massively in the last few years through recurring injuries. If Limerick are to stand any chance of avoiding the bottom two places, the senior players in the squad must be available for selection.
Surprisingly, new signing Conor Clifford played a full ninety minutes on Tuesday having featured on Saturday against Sligo. It seems unlikely that a player who has been out of action for four months would be subjected to three games in six days.
Shamrock Rovers’ miserable week ended with some positive news. The club agreed a deal to re-sign former goalkeeper Alan Mannus when his contract expires with St. Johnstone in a month. The 35 year-old will be available for selection from July 1st. Despite the fact that Mannus won’t be debuting for over two months, it is a boost for under-fire boss Stephen Bradley as both Kevin Horgan and Tomer Chencinski have made high profile errors and been dropped this season.
The Hoops are languishing in fifth place in the table and are already eleven points behind league leaders Dundalk with a game more played. Last week’s back to back defeats to Bohemians and Bray has supporter’s morale spiralling. Rovers will be without Dan Carr who was dismissed at the Carlisle Grounds on Tuesday. It is a blow as the striker has become a fans favourite at Tallaght Stadium.
Former Limerick FC midfielder Bradley is aware of the threat Limerick can pose despite their recent form. Speaking to the club’s official website having watched Limerick’s game with Dundalk, Bradley feels it will be a tough outing for his side:
“I watched Limerick on Tuesday against Dundalk and I think the pitch in Tallaght will suit them. They’ve some good players and they’ll want to come and win the game. So we’ve got to be ready for them and respect them and make sure we hit our levels.”
The manager will hand Gary Shaw a start in the absence of Dan Carr. Shaw failed to impress at the Markets Field earlier in the season and was shackled by the inexperienced Limerick central defender Killian Brouder.
2018 Meetings: The teams met in March at the Markets Field as Shamrock Rovers ran out 0-1 winners courtesy of a Graham Burke penalty. Limerick were forced to field an exceptionally young side on the night as has been frequent thus far. A rash tackle from Shaun Kelly on Ronan Finn inside the area was penalised and the Hoops left Shannonside with the three points. On the night, Limerick battled bravely and defended well. The match looked certain to end in a draw until a lapse in concentration provided Rovers with the goal.