Another week, another big game defeat. Limerick fell to Waterford for the third time this season on Friday night, their blushes only partly spared by Longford’s inability to take advantage with a win over Athlone, the league leaders settling for a scoreless draw.
Whether it is a combination of Waterford figuring out Limerick, or genuine panic and lack of composure when it comes to playing s bag game, Limerick’s record against the other top three teams is simply atrocious. Scully has a tendency to revert to long ball./route one tactics which simply do not work and Limerick’s defence was badly undone in the second half of this game, allowing four free headers from corners, two of which were converted. Limerick never looked look a team that was capable of getting back into it, with aimless ball followed by aimless ball.
Where does this leave Limerick then? Two points behind Longford isn’t bad, but we continue to chase and chase with time running out. The last time Limerick lost to Waterford, we were left four points behind Longford. Six straight league wins followed by another Waterford defeat leaves us two points behind them. Waterford are not terribly far behind Limerick either, only four points, and the whole situation comes with a terrible sense of unease.
Scully is in a bit of trouble here. Racking up the wins against the likes of SD Galway, Wexford Youths and Finn Harps is all well and good, but his tactics against the bigger sides have been lacklustre and Limerick trail because of it. By the middle of this season I had serious reservations about Scully’s long term prospects as Limerick manager, and these have only become more pressing.
Limerick travel to Mervue next Friday while Longford play Wexford in Wexford. In games like these, at this point in the season, everything is critical.
Elsewhere in the League of Ireland, Sligo slipped up with a draw against Bray, but St Pat’s couldn’t take advantage with their 1-1 draw against Shamrock Rovers. The Saints’ last minute winner was sucker punch to Shams, the pressure of Stephen Kenny racking up and up as the defending champions fall eight points behind the leaders.
The other big news is the declining fortunes of Dundalk, who are close to the end by all accounts. A second club removing itself from the division in one season would be a total disaster for the league and for the FAI but Dundalk are holding on for the moment. A 4-0 trouncing at the hands of mid table Shels was not the result the club would have wanted at this critical time, but they remain above bottom spot for the moment. Also a positive mention for Bray, who I witnessed Limerick manhandling the other week in the League Cup, who managed to hold the league leaders to a draw in Saturday. A much needed result for them, currently third from last, trying to break into the mid table places.
Oh, and hey, SD Galway picked up another point while hosting Wexford. Only four more until they equal last season’s total.