On a night when Limerick soccer legend and Bernabeu goal hero Des Kennedy made an official presentation welcoming Charlton Athletic to the city, Limerick FC emerged victorious in an entertaining mid-season friendly against the English Skybet League One side.
Charlton were leading 0-2 at half time courtesy of goals from Joe Aribo and Northern Irish international Josh Magennis. However, second half goals from Stephen Kenny, Shane Tracy and Chiedozie Ogbene completed a Limerick fightback which was unexpected on the evidence of the first half.
Charlton started brightly as midfielder Andrew Crofts delivered a cross from the right which was directed over the crossbar by Josh Magennis. In response, neat play from Paul O’Conor allowed a snapshot from Chris Mulhall which was easily gathered by Dillon Phillips.
The first goal arrived midway through the first-half. Having been denied by Freddy Hall moments earlier, Joe Aribo powerfully headed home from a Cameron Stewart corner. Limerick’s inability to defend set-pieces was evident yet again on this occasion.
The set-piece nightmare continued for Limerick as Charlton captain Jason Pearce met a Cameron Stewart free-kick to direct the ball into Josh Magennis’ path, and the striker outmuscled David O’Connor to nod into the empty net.
Limerick made a great start to the second period when substitute Stephen Kenny spectacularly lobbed Phillips from the right flank. The former Cobh man will be delighted with the goal, although it looked like an intended cross.
Limerick were on level terms shortly after, as Shane Tracy rifled a free-kick into the top corner of the net following a foul by Aaron Barnes on Chris Mulhall.
Charlton responded positively to the set-back as Christian Ceballos forced a great save from Freddy Hall, who was having an inspired evening. Immediately, the Charlton central midfielder attempted to beat Hall for a second time, only for the Bermudan international to palm the ball away from goal with his right hand.
Garbhan Coughlan has enjoyed a rejuvenation under Neil McDonald and the former Regional man produced a smart turn to evade a challenge before curling the ball just wide of the post.
With ten minutes remaining, the home sides comeback was complete. A clever ball by Coughlan released the lively Chiedozie Ogbene who raced through on goal before slotting the ball beyond the grasp of Ashley Maynard-Brewer.
Limerick attempted to catch the Addicks on the break as they searched for an equalising goal. The Shannonsiders closed out the game which certainly pleased Neil McDonald and the Limerick support, who joyously applauded the home side off the pitch after the game.
Limerick: Freddy Hall, Shane Costelloe (Dean Clarke 60), Joe Crowe (Tony Whitehead H/T), David O’Connor (Killian Brouder H/T), Shane Tracy, Shane Duggan (Lee-J Lynch H/T), Paul O’Conor (Bastien Hery 60), Ian Turner (Stephen Kenny H/T), Henry Cameron (Trialist 60), John O’Flynn (Chiedozie Ogbene 60), Chris Mulhall (Garbhan Coughlan 60).
Charlton Athletic: Dillon Phillips (Ashley Maynard-Brewer 71), Regan Charles-Cook, Jason Pearce (Patrick Bauer 60), Erzi Konza (Naby Sarr 60), Aaron Barnes (Johnnie Jackson 60), Andrew Crofts (Anfernee Dijksteel 60), Joe Aribo (Christian Ceballos H/T), Karlan Ahearne-Grant, Cameron Stewart (Mark Marshall 60), Tony Watt (Billy Clarke 55) Josh Magennis (Jorge Teixeira 60).
Referee: Graham Kelly