Unfortunately, I did not get to see Limerick’s 2-0 victory over Mervue on Friday night, but all reports coming out of the game carry the same message: a poor performance where Limerick won without impressing. A dire first half was followed up by a second that was not much better, as Limerick’s home struggles continue. Just what it is about playing in Jackman Park that makes them so dodgy I do not know. The poor quality of the opposition is all that has stopped Limerick’s season from becoming a total disaster so far. The defence is lacking when faced with half-decent forwards, and the midfield is constantly by-passed by the long ball game. Worse still, Limerick struggled to contain a very poor Mervue side, who had been reduced to ten men for a significant portion of the game.
The lone bright spark amid the average performances of the players was young Cian Collins, whose goal close to the end sealed the three points for Limerick. With Limerick suffering such deficiencies upfront, seeing a new face get on so well is encouraging. Limerick travel to Galway to face Salthill Devon next week.
Elsewhere, Shamrock Rovers’ slump continued, as they were held 2-2 at home by UCD, the result seeing the champions fall back to third, their aspirations of a three-in-a-row starting to come into question. Sligo took full advantage with a fine away win at Drogheda, 3-1, a result that does great credit to Baraclough’s men seeing as how Drogs were is such good form recently. The divide between the two Rovers has now grown to five points, with the clubs squaring off next week in Sligo. The Hoops need to stem the rot fast before Sligo take a commanding lead. For Drogheda it is a bit of a wake-up call, and a disappointing result after playing so well in these early stages. They simply have to bounce back and recover as they travel to Dalymount next week.
St Patrick’s Athletic have grabbed second spot, at the expense of Derry who they beat away 2-0. Joy for Pats who break a habit of draws recently, misery for Derry whose title hopes are all but in the dump after this result. The Saints lie four points off the league leaders, while Derry are stuck in sixth.
Cork City produced a battling performance at Turners Cross to take all three points off Dundalk with a 3-2 scoreline. That result see’s them secure seventh spot, only a hair breath from crossing into the top half of the table. Quite the turnaround for the Leesiders as it stands as they have pushed up the table remarkably fast. Dundalk meanwhile continue to sink following a number of poor showings.
Shelbourne maintained their fine opening to this league season, piling on the misery for bottom club Monaghan, winning 2-1 in Dublin, though a suggestion of betting irregularities has cast a shadow over that result. Little hope of a comeback for Roddy Collins while Shels could yet break into the chasing pack proper. Bray grabbed a crucial three points at home to Bohemians as well, leaving themselves level on points with Cork. Bohs have been a bit bi-polar this season, and face a big test against Drogheda next week.
Down in the lower tier Longford maintained their four point gap at the top with a narrow win over Wexford Youths, 1-0, the Slaneysiders dropping behind close rivals Waterford. The Blues beat SD Galway in front of little more than 50 people at Terryland, leaving them ahead of Wexford by a point, behind Limerick by four. The expected top three have now emerged in the First Division, albeit with Longford setting the pace instead of the favourites Limerick. Finn Harps gave up their third home loss of the season to Athlone, 2-1 the final score, Athlone are now level with Wexford on 16, Harps trailing them by four. A third of the season has already passed in the First Division, and Longford remain on course for a surprise league win.