Trip to Bray next up for Blues after opening day draw

Limerick FC travel to the Carlisle Grounds to take on Bray Wanderers on Friday evening in the Airtricity League First Division (7.45).

Limerick will be looking to add to their first point of the season which was picked up at home against Longford Town last week.

It was a solid performance from the Shannonsiders who looked relatively comfortable in defence outside of a big chance for former player Paul O’Conor in the second half.

Arguably, Limerick had the best chance of the game as Karl O’Sullivan was played through on goal but lacked the necessary composure to finish past Lee Steacey.

Limerick are still monitoring the fitness of Killian Brouder and Will Fitzgerald but it would be a big boost if both players were fit ahead of the game.

Despite working very hard, a left wing role did not appear to suit Sean Russell last Friday evening. The more agile and dynamic Fitzgerald would be a big addition.

Also, the physicality of Brouder may be important. Tomas O’Connor gave a solid display last week but is exceptionally young and slight for this level of football yet.

Darren Murphy was busy in midfield and was instrumental in ensuring the Longford midfield had to go long to striker Aaron Dobbs despite being renowned for passing football. Jason Hughes worked hard to close down the space.

Sean McSweeney certainly struggled on his return to this level. His passing and touches let him down on occasion but it was also a game which suited neither number ten as it was a scrappy affair.

Striker Connor Ellis was starved of decent delivery all evening as a lot of Limerick’s forward supply was rushed and inaccurate. However, the former Cork City man was lively and should get off the mark soon at this level.

Manager Tommy Barrett says that the approach from his side wont differ from home to away games although he feels ball retention will improve.

“I think the approach might be similar. We didn’t play very well but we expected that as we aren’t together long. Pre-season was a bit patchy.

We need to retain the ball a bit better and there needs to be better patterns of play but conditions weren’t great tonight and it was a difficult game to play in.”

Bray come into the game in good form following a solid pre-season and a comfortable opening day victory against Cabinteely. Former Longford player Dylan McGlade will be key for them as will former Waterford captain Paul Keegan in midfield.

Former Limerick player Killian Cantwell is likely to start at centre-back and possibly partner the returning Hugh Douglas who will certainly be a big threat from set pieces, an area where Limerick have and are likely to struggle from with the lack of height in the squad.

Last season, the Super Blues beat Bray on all four occasions including two wins at the Carlisle Grounds. The last meeting between the sides ended 0-2 to Tommy Barrett’s men with Conor Ellis and former player Barry Maguire getting the goals.

However, the Seagulls will be a different proposition this time around and are tipped as one of the favourites for the title.

Although the management and players wont reveal it, a point from this fixture and continuing the solid start would be more than sufficient.

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