A good week for Limerick FC, with two wins both attended by yours truly. Having blitzed the home team for three goals in the opening 20 minutes on Monday, Limerick had the luxury of sitting back and recuing the intensity against Bray in the League Cup quarter final, eventually going back south with a 3-1 win and place in the last four booked for the second year running. That game saw the return of Dominic Foley after injury, with Coughlan, Sheehan, Gaffney and Brosnan all playing very well.
That was followed up with a comprehensive performance over Finn Harps at home, a 3-0 victory seeing Limerick keep in touch with Longford at the top of the table. The impotence of the Harps offence meant that Limerick’s backline was rarely troubled, and the home team were able to sweep the ball about well in the midfield, though the absence of Gamble did see to result in an occasional lack of urgency.
The own goal that saw Limerick take the lead remained the only netted effort for a long while, with a number of chances and long spells of possession squandered. It took the introduction of a fresh Rory Gaffney to bring things to head, as he simply terrorised the Donegal men’s defence, with doing his, by now usual, role of playing just behind. A penalty added the second, MacBride’s craziness saw Finn Harps reduced to ten men, and Gaffney’s injury time volley made the score match the state of play a little better.
Limerick are in a rich vein of form at the moment, having won every game since the loss at home to Waterford. It is Waterford next, away, a side that Limerick have lost too twice this season. Longford’s remarkable comeback win away to Mervue, facilitated by the Galway side having two men sent off in the second half for dissent, means Limerick remain the chasers.
The First Division, with a rather large gap between the fifth place side (Wexford) and the play off places, is rapidly looking like a split league, with those outside the top four merely seeing the season out. The Youths could, with a bit of luck, get back into it, but their early season form seems to have vanished. It looks like Limerick and Longford to battle it out for automatic promotion or the first play off spot, with Waterford and Athlone racing for the second platy-off place.
Further up in the league, Shamrock Rovers are probably going to be looking for a new manager before too long. I simply cannot see anyway that Stephen Kenny is retained in the post for much longer, as the Hoops got played off the field for the third time this season. Sligo and St Pats are now the title contenders to focus on, with Drogheda maintaining their run at the top of the table. A fourth place finish for Shams, after the success of last season, would be a turn up for the books, but there is still half a seasons worth of games to play in the Premier Division.