A battle of a game gives Limerick their second win of the season, but most fans coming home from Fahy’s Field may be less than impressed in the manner that Limerick got those three points. Limerick struggled to put away what is poor opposition (Mervue are winless in three games) with the effort put in by Joe Gamble the real difference between success and nowhere.
As seems to be becoming typical, Limerick made plenty of good chances but failed to take them, and as with the opening day win against Finn Harps, benefitted from an opposition that did not have their shooting boots on for most of the contest. Dominic Foley’s first start for the club was regrettably underwhelming, though the 35 year old did not lack for pace. The long ball tactics continue, but one wonders if it will do so for much longer.
Fermoy on Sunday in the Munster Senior Cup semi-finals, where some of the U-19 team is bound to get a run out, before Limerick finally return to Jackman Park for the visit of SD Galway. Considering the nominal gulf in class and skill between these two side, nothing less than a win is expected.
Elsewhere, it was a night of indiscipline and red cards, a flurry shown throughout the League of Ireland bringing a dampener on proceedings, a vicious studs-up example from Shamrock Rovers Conor Powell being the highlight. I cannot fathom the repeated defence offered by commentator Eoin Hand and the RTE website that such a tackle was acceptable or worthy of just a yellow. That was a potential leg-breaker, pure and simple.
Cork threw away what would have been a famous win in that match, having to settle for just a point against the champions. Only one point from three games for the First Division champs, which is relegation form. Fellow promoted club Shelbourne are flying higher, having beaten Derry at home, while St Pats had their first stutter, a 1-1 draw with Monaghan, who are looking more and more a team that is difficult to break down, albeit one that has little impetus going forward either. Bray got the better of UCD in what might be dubbed the relegation favourites derby, coming from behind to win 3-2, a potentially vital three points. Lastly, Dundalk and Drogheda played out a scoreless draw while Sligo snatched a late enough victory against Bohs.
All this leaves both Rovers, Shels and St Pats joint top, with Cork and Bohemians holding up the table. Things already looking ominous for the latter, much improvement needed. Cork at least have the excuse of player absentism. Two Dublin derbies next week, as the Hoops host Shelbourne and Bohemians take on the Saints.
In the First Division, Longford maintained their good start to the season with a 2-1 away victory at Wexford, Athlone put away Finn Harps 2-0, while Waterford ground out a 1-0 win against SD Galway despite being a man down for most of the game.
All that leaves Longford at the top, the only club in Ireland with a 100% record still intact with Athlone, Limerick and Waterford just behind. The two Galway clubs, Mervue and SD Galway, hold up the entire League of Ireland, with just one point between them after three games each. Only Bohemians have a record to match.
Still early days, but it is clear that Longford are a bigger threat then they may have appeared to be. They play Waterford at home next week.