Not only is the result a positive one, but Limerick can finally claim to have played with confidence in a “big game” this season.
Longford just simply didn’t turn up in the first half, and Limerick’s two goal cushion was the reward. With all aspects of Limerick’s tea, firing well, despite a plethora of debatable referee calls, Longford were never going to find a way back into the game, though they were obviously able to press more when Bradley was sent off. Solid at the back, dominant in midfield and clinical upfront, Limerick have finally – finally – come good in a game that really matters.
It’s just a shame that they won’t play again for nearly a month, thanks to Euro 2012. Momentum is an important thing in football, and Limerick have it while Longford, still a point ahead in the table, do not. But with three weeks to rest and recuperate, both sides could come back into the league playing differently. Limerick will be hoping to see the return of players like Joe Gamble and Dominic Foley, enabling them to press on, claim top spot, and play the second half of the season in the kind of manner that they should have played the first.
Elsewhere in the League of Ireland, I caught Dundalk falling at home to Drogheda on RTE. A couple of points to make there:
-Drogheda are not as good a team as started the league season, struggling to contain Dundalk through large parts of Friday night.
-Dundalk are better than they are given credit for, but suffer from a lack of finishing upfront and concentration at the back. Giving up a goal immediately after scoring one is not permissible in football.
-Oriel Park is just a state. The Astroturf surface makes playing the ball difficult, harder to control, the spray of rubber pellets that accompanied any significant movement enough to severely affect the game. If Dundalk struggle to play on it, it’s a problem.
Ultimately I can see Dundalk surviving, because they have a decent team that fought back from one down, and did their best when 2-1 down, but they will struggle to do anything other than finish above 10th the way they are going. The money issues surrounding the club are very concerning and their manager seems ill-suited to the pressures of the job.
Further up, the break will be of welcome news to Sligo, who dropped points for the second leage game in a row in a scoreless draw with Bohemians. Having been streaks ahead in the league after beating Shamrock Rovers so convincingly, Sligo have faltered just a little bit, though they retain a strong lead in the table. They need to use the break to get their mentality back to a proper state, to improve concentration, goal scoring ability and simply get things moving in the right direction again. After all, it won’t be too long before they have to travel to Tallaght.
The SD Galway “project” continues to falter, going down 5-1 at home to Finn Harps, the second home match in a row where the Tribesmen have conceded that many goals, and another Terryland Park game where they failed to get triple figures through the turnstiles. In terms of their survival, I deem it unlikely (and unwise) that the 2013 edition of the league will feature them. The talent in the team isn’t there and neither is the support.
With the League of Ireland suspended for the next few weeks, Monday posts will focus on Euro 2012, though I may yet through up brief, daily reports on the matches that take place.