As we enter our second full week without any senior or junior football in the city or country, positive football new is at a premium. Therefore, we have decided to list our top five senior soccer games which have taken place involving Limerick over the last decade.
Obviously, there is no senior soccer representative in the city in 2020 but there were some great moments for Limerick FC over the past ten years including two Airtricity League First Division titles, an FAI Cup semi-final and a EA Sports Cup Final. We have recorded our favourite games below and as always, there is bound to be many who disagree.
Limerick FC 5-1 Sligo Rovers (24 February 2017): It was a night when Limerick supporters left the Markets Field feeling on top of the world. The club had just returned to the Premier Division following a one year absence and had assembled an exciting squad including Cork youngster Chiedozie Ogbene and Bastien Hery.
Big games on Friday nights under the lights were back. Rodrigo Tosi announced himself on the big stage with a quickly taken hattrick either side of goals from Ian Turner and Lee-J Lynch. The levels of optimism surged through the roof in a packed Markets Field.
Many tipped a challenge for Europe but reality quickly struck and Martin Russell was sacked and eventually replaced by Neil McDonald. At the end of that season, rumours began to circulate about the precarious financial position of the club but that night was certainly a memorable one, when the sky appeared to be the limit.
Limerick FC: Freddy Hall, Shaun Kelly, Robbie Williams, Tony Whitehead, Tommy Robson, Shane Duggan, Bastien Hery (Paul O’Conor), Lee-J Lynch, Ian Turner, Dean Clarke (Chiedozie Ogbene), Rodrigo Tosi (Chris Mulhall)
Sligo Rovers 2-3 Limerick FC (30 October 2015): The 2015 season was memorable on two fronts. Unfortunately, Limerick FC were relegated following a dramatic play-off loss to Finn Harps but it also was the year that the club returned to the Markets Field and went on an incredible run in an attempt to preserve their Premier Division status.
On the final day of the 2015 regular season, Martin Russell’s side had to beat Sligo and hope that Shamrock Rovers beat Drogheda in order to stay in the top flight.
The Super Blues following was significant that night and the atmosphere they brought was electric. Two first half goals from Shane Duggan and Paul O’Connor raced them into a 0-2 lead before Sander Puri pulled one back. Top scorer Vinny Faherty restored the two goal lead before Ruairi Keating ensured a nervy ending with an injury time goal for Sligo.
However, the Shannonsiders held on for victory which sparked joyous celebrations between players, management and supporters as the club looked dead and buried in August. The game was shown live on RTE Two that evening and highlighted all that was good about Limerick football.
Limerick FC: Freddy Hall, Shaun Kelly, Patrick Kanyuka, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy, Sean Russell, Paul O’Conor, Shane Duggan, Ian Turner, Dean Clarke (Cyril Guedje), Vinny Faherty (Ross Mann)
Limerick FC 4-3 Bohemians (8 August 2015): Considering the club were relegated in 2015, people may find it strange that another game from that season has made the cut. Arguably, despite the small crowd in attendance, the victory over Bohemians was the catalyst for the club’s run to the play-off.
After 70 minutes, trailing 3-2 and with the side down to ten men due to the sending off of Patrick Kanyuka, goals from Lee-J Lynch and a Shane Tracy penalty overturned the deficit and gave Limerick a 4-3 lead and provided the club with a huge boost. It was a night full of entertainment and although then manager Martin Russell was criticised for the lack of defensive stability, games like this occurred at times during his reign and generated a lot of excitement.
After the final whistle, the players were given a raucous reception and were grateful for it. It started a connection between supporters young and old with this group of players and is one of the reasons why what followed left a bitter taste in many mouths.
Limerick FC: Freddy Hall, Shaun Kelly, Patrick Kanyuka, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy, Paul O’Conor, Shane Duggan, Lee-J Lynch, Ian Turner, Dean Clarke, Vinny Faherty
Derry City 0-1 Limerick FC (1 August 2016): Limerick defeated high-flying Premier Division outfit Derry in the EA Sports Cup Semi-Final at the Brandywell and it sparked memories similar to that of the League Cup victory at the same venue in 2002, albeit that was the final of the competition.
The Super Blues were flying in the First Division and were 23 games unbeaten. Why are more games from this period ignored? The simple reason is that Limerick were a full-time professional outfit playing against part-time and amateur sides and were winning games by four and five goals regularly. As a result, the season was not one that would live long in the memory despite regaining promotion.
However, the team had to increase their tempo and work rate significantly to face Derry on their home patch and they did so superbly. A rare sturdy defensive display under Martin Russell’s tenure allowed Limerick advance to the final for the first time in 14 years. Stephen Kenny scored the only goal of the game to send the travelling fans into raptures.
Limerick FC: Freddy Hall, Shaun Kelly, Paudie O’Connor, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy, Shane Duggan, Paul O’Conor, Sean Russell, Aaron Greene (Ross Mann), Stephen Kenny, Chris Mulhall (John O’Flynn)
Limerick FC 3-2 Dundalk (29th June 2013): Little did anybody know that Limerick defeated the nucleus of a team that have went on to dominate the Airtricity League for the rest of the decade.
The likes of Richie Towell, Chris Shields, Dane Massey and Andy Boyle were on show in Thomond Park that night and they raced into a 0-2 lead thanks to goals from Kurtis Byrne and Massey. The three points looked set to be going back to Louth until Stuart Taylor’s team orchestrated a dramatic comeback.
Firstly, long servant Shane Tracy pulled a goal back before Rory Gaffney equalised with 15 minutes remaining. Englishman Craig Curran who was a fans favourite during hiss brief spell on Shannonside, scored the winner on the 83rd minute to spark wild celebrations among the 1,200 in attendance.
Limerick FC: Barry Ryan, Shaun Kelly, Joe Gamble (Rory Gaffney), Stephen Folan, Robbie Williams, Dave O’Leary, Shane Tracy, Danny Galbraith, Axel Bossekota, Craig Curran, Daragh Rainsford.