Let’s talk about Pat Scully.
If I have gained one opinion from watching the Limerick team in the League of Ireland this season, it is that Pat Scully has no long term future with the club. Watching the team struggle towards a victory over Athlone over the weekend, thanks largely to the shooting prowess of Rory Gaffney, I was struck, not for the first time this season, with the negative attitude of the side, the defensive football, the packed midfield, the lack of options upfront, the commitment to long balls.
Limerick seem to frequently play like they have had a man sent off this season, sitting back and letting the opposition back into games. Limerick had a comfortable first half against Athlone, unlucky to only be one nil up at the break, but then proceeded to hand over control of the tempo to the opposition, who only failed to garner any points because of their own attacking deficiencies. Gaffney’s second goal, more than a little suspect in its build-up, spared Scully’s blushes.
Scully is having a torrid time this season, aided by the fact that, with the exception of Longford and Waterford – opponents that Limerick are 0-0-3 against this season – all the other teams in the First Division are of such poor standard as to be beatable even by a lacklustre, half-committed team. All of them could have gotten points off Limerick this season if they were just a little bit better, and the line between Limerick and the rest is a looking increasingly thin.
That is not to guffaw at Limerick’s current position, second in the league, four points behind Longford, but it is still disappointing. Limerick should not be having any kind of trouble in this division, and should, as we approach the half-way point, be well clear at the top, considering the amount of resources that Scully has in his possession.
Even if Limerick get promoted this season, via automatic means or play-offs, I have no confidence that they can take the next step and become a competitive, stable and long-lasting Premier Division club. They simply aren’t playing good enough football to create that impression at the moment. They are too negative, too wasteful, too poor.
Scully might steer Limerick into the top division this season, but he is not the man to keep them there, the crucial objective. He seems incapable of settling on a fixed formation, of winning comfortably, of getting his teams to play with confidence. He is not a good manager, and is taking advantage of circumstances in order to give the impression that Limerick are better than they are.
Scully is going to have to be replaced in the next while, whether it is before the end of this season or sometime in the next. I am willing to stay away from calling for his head right now, but I simply have no belief that he is the man capable of leading Limerick to stable Premier Division participation.
Little else to say this week, nothing much has really changed in the LoI.