Limerick FC succumbed to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Finn Harps at Finn Park on Friday night. First-half goals from Danny Morrissey, Ciaran O’Connor and Caolan McAleer provided Ollie Horgan’s men with the victory. Lee-J Lynch and Paul O’Conor scored for Limerick but it was not enough to prevent defeat. There was plenty of goals and entertainment on offer for the crowd at Ballybofey with a late red card for Finn Harps Danny Morrissey thrown into the mix.
The home side took the lead in the opening six minutes as Ciaran O’Connor slotted the ball home following a set up by Ethan Boyle from a Paddy McCourt corner. Limerick’s failure to defend set pieces has been evident all season and must be sorted very quickly. Less than three minutes later, Lee-J Lynch equalised for the Shannonsiders as his free-kick from 30 yards evaded everybody in the box and crept inside Ciaran Gallagher’s post.
Halfway through the first-half, Finn Harps regained the lead as former Cork City striker Danny Morrissey neatly finished from a Caolan McAleer cross.
It was the impressive McAleer who was centrally involved in the next big moment of the game. The lively winger cut inside Tommy Robson on the right and curled the ball into the net off the crossbar to score a cracking goal. It was a serious blow to the visitors just five minutes before half-time.
Limerick created little to no chances as they searched for a way back into the game. With five minutes remaining, Paul O’Conor pulled a goal back as Ciaran Gallagher failed to adequately clear a Tommy Robson corner and O’Conor smashed the ball home from the edge of the box. Danny Morrissey was sent off for a wild tackle on O’Conor as the game approached the 90th minute.
Dean Clarke went close with a header in the final minute as Limerick pushed hard for an equaliser. However the home side held out for a precious three points.
As a result, Limerick must concentrate on preserving their premier division status for next season and put aside any talk of European aspirations.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Ethan Boyle, Kilian Cantwell, Packie Mailey, Ciaran Coll; Caolan McAleer (Michael Funston 74), Gareth Harkin, Paddy McCourt (Jonny Bonner 70), Sean Houston; Danny Morrissey, Ciaran O’Connor.
Limerick FC: Freddy Hall; Shaun Kelly, Tony Whitehead (Dean Clarke 82), Robbie Williams, Tommy Robson; Lee-J Lynch, Bastien Hery, Shane Duggan (Paul O’Conor, half-time), Chiedozie Ogbene; Chris Mulhall (Ian Turner 56), Rodrigo Tosi.
Referee: Keith Kennedy (IFA).