LoI Roundup, Matchday Five

Three wins in the last three games, coupled with Longford’s first stumble, leaves Limerick only a point behind the league leaders after the fifth game of the season.

Limerick maintained the 4-4-2 that worked to good effect against SD Galway last week, but the absence of Dominic Foley due to injury and early substitution of Derek O’ Brien for the same reason meant that the strike force could not be as effective as they previously were. The pitch, more sand then grass it seemed, also played a part in an error strewn affair, with Limerick constantly reverting to the long ball tactics that marked the early games of this First Division campaign.

For all that, Limerick were the better side, the only goal, a Gamble tap-n, coming as a result of decent interplay between Gaffney and Behan. A spectacular Quinn effort, a 30 yard volley that cannoned off the crossbar, was one of the other real chances of note. Athlone defended well enough for much of the game, but much like most of Limerick’s opposition this season, they were badly ineffective in the final third, rarely causing Limerick any significant worries.

Limerick have some injury concerns heading into the big game next Friday, but playing on a better surface, with what should be a large home support, they are more than capable of putting “the Town” to the sword and taking the lead in the First Division, before facing into an equally important game away to presently third placed Wexford. Limerick’s big names – Gamble, Gaffney, Behan – are reliable and rarely put in a mediocre performance. Such talismans are able to keep Limerick ticking over during otherwise average displays. While the quality of the performances might be lacking in parts, the simple fact is that Limerick have four wins from five and are poised to jump into first place within a week.

In the Premier Division, Shamrock Rovers left it late to come out on top in the big Dublin derby, beating Bohemians two goals to nil, the Gypsies fighting hard but wasting several good opportunities in the second half. Points will clearly be hard to come by for them, currently stuck fast to the foot of the table, showing form that will have fans having night mares about relegation soon enough. On Rovers part, they remain at the top of the table by a point, and already the rest of the league seems to be playing catch-up. Sligo is keeping pace for the moment, beating Dundalk easily enough on Saturday, three goals to no reply. Is this the season of “Rovers” domination? It is looking increasingly so.

Shelbourne bounced back a little from last week’s disastrous showing against the champions, sharing the spoils with St Pats with a 1-1 draw. Cork City threw away another lead at home to grant Bray a point in another 1-1 draw, the Leesiders positive expectations at the start of the season, already looking like a distant memory. They have gigantic problems simply retaining a basic lead, even at home against average opposition.

Elsewhere, Derry fell badly to a 2-0 away loss to Drogheda, with a man sent off to boot. They won’t want to have many more results like that this season, less they become also rans to the two Rovers clubs. UCD came out on top against Monaghan at the Bowl, the Students snatching all three points with an last minute winner courtesy of Paul O’ Conor. Heartbreaking for Roddy Collins’ men, who are yet to appear as anything other than a side that will struggle to avoid the bottom places.

In the First Division Longford slipped up away to SD Galway, the Tribesmen bouncing back from their Limerick loss to grab a respectable 1-1 draw. Having lost their 100% record, Longford may now be staring into the big game next week, with Limerick, with some trepidation. Salthill can be happy with their lot, though the lack of relegation, as always, makes the bottom half of the First Division table less then exciting.

The other Galway club, Mervue, continued their miserable season, a 2-0 loss away to high flying Wexford Youths, who play Athlone next week before taking on Limerick. The narrow confines of the First Division are already providing numerous crunch ties, that’s for sure. Waterford’s disappointing run in the last few weeks continued, falling to Finn Harps at home, the Donegal men taking the longest trip in the LoI and getting a 2-0 win out of it. They are now level with the Blues on six points each.

This entry was posted in Football 11/12, Ireland, League of Ireland, Limerick, Sport and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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