Limerick FC host Finn Harps for the second time in six days as the two sides clash in a crucial game in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division at the Markets Field on Friday night (kick-off 7.45 pm).
The Shannonsiders beat Harps 1-0 last Saturday in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup courtesy of a rare goal from left-back Dave O’Connor in the second-half. Ollie Horgan’s men were not helped by the sending off of Caolan McAleer for an off the ball incident with the goalscorer O’Connor midway through the first-half.
Limerick played 70 minutes of the game against a resilient ten-man Harps and struggled to break down the Donegal outfit. Manager Neil McDonald was delighted with the patience shown by his side to earn the win.
“We’ve thoroughly deserved to win I think tonight. We showed a lot of patience and we showed clinical finishing in the end to score and get through to the quarter-final, which is brilliant for everybody.”
Speaking ahead of Friday’s game, influential midfielder Lee-J Lynch spoke about how motivated his teammates need to be in order to repeat Saturday’s result in the league game.
“We need to make sure we can go out and do it. Every man needs to stand up and be counted. Finn Harps will certainly set up shop and have their homework done on us.”
Lynch and midfield partner Bastian Hery impressed again and there appears to be a much better balance, with Lynch the creator and Henry operating in a more defensive role.
The Super Blues kept a second clean sheet in two games with Dave O’Connor impressing at left-back, having taken criticism earlier in the season.
Limerick have lost Garbhan Coughlan who appeared as a substitute last weekend, as he moves to New Zealand.
It is likely that McDonald will play the same 11 again, unless he re-introduces Barry Cotter to the starting line-up.
Finn Harps left out Sean Houston, Danny Morrissey and Gareth Harkin who eventually featured from the bench last Saturday evening. Harkin joins McAleer on the suspension list after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season on Saturday. It is expected that Houston and Morrissey will replace Ibrahim Keita and Pascal Millien. Packie Mailey is doubtful through injury.
Ollie Hogan realises it will be a tough ask for his players to play in Limerick twice in six days. However, the Harps boss feels a league game brings a different dimension to it.
“We’re up against it going to the Markets Field again after losing to Limerick in the FAI Cup last week. But this is league and we have to be brave and go for it as we need the points. Neil McDonald has definitely steadied the ship with the league win over Bohemians a couple of weeks ago and they seem to have tightened up at the back which is going to make it difficult for us to break them down”
Referee: Ben Connolly