An efficient second half performance saw promotion chasers Limerick storm past Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Friday evening.
In what was a fairly drab encounter until around the hour mark, two goals in the space of three minutes saw Limerick open the scoring. Stephen O’Flynn headed in Limerick’s second after Shane Treacy had given the Shannonsiders the lead through a penalty just after the hour mark. John Tierney followed up with another headed goal, and substitute Shane Clarke rounded off the scoring on 84 minutes.
The first half was dull in contrast and saw few chances for either side. Pat Purcell almost turned the ball in to his own net on three minutes following a low Shels cross.
Shelbourne had a majority of possession, largely due to effective marking of attackers Stephen O’Flynn and John Tierney. For all their possession the home side were impotent up front. Successive crosses were drafted in to the Limerick area, but no Shels player was ever near getting on the end of them.
David Cassidy whistled a free-kick past the Shels upright on twenty- six minutes, but that was as far as the Reds got to an opening goal. Shels had their best chance on forty-three minutes when, after a scramble in the Lims box, Philly Gorman struck the upright with a strong shot.
Limerick had a few half-chances before half time through Stephen O’Flynn and John Sullivan, but the two sides went in to the break level.
The home side came out from the break playing in much the same way, with their crosses failing to connect. Shels were almost made pay for their slack finishing on fifty-seven minutes, after a string of clever passes let Shane Tracey in on goal. Tracey could only shoot straight at Dean Delany though.
Tracey made up for his miss three minutes later with the opening goal. The midfielder stroked the ball in from the penalty spot after John Tierney was felled on the right side of the Shels penalty area. The double salvo was completed for Lims on sixty-three minutes when Stephen O’Flynn headed in the second goal after a corner was not successfully cleared by Shelbourne.
Shelbourne tried to claw their way back in to the match, but Limerick were far too strong for them.
The result was sealed on seventy-five minutes when John Tierney headed in the third goal from a free-kick. Substitute Shane Clarke well and truly finished the Reds off with a goal five minutes from time, propelling the Shannonsiders right in to contention for a promotion playoff spot.
Shelbourne FC: Dean Delany, Mick Clarke, Stephen Quigley, Ian Ryan, Michael Coburn, Paul Shiels, David McGill [Ray Scully ‘57], David Cassidy, Philip Gorman, Mark Hughes [Dinny Corcoran ‘67], Colin O’Brien [Brian Farrell ‘78]
Subs Not Used: Gareth Whelan, Steve Williams
Limerick FC: David Ryan, Jeffrey Judge, Sean Kelly, Dave Rogers, Pat Purcell, David O’Leary [Thomas Heary HT], Bobby Ryan, John Sullivan [Timmy Kiely ‘74], Stephen O’Flynn [Shane Clarke ‘80], John Tierney, Shane Treacy
Subs Not Used: Declan Cahill, John McGuinness
Referee: John McLaughlin
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Shane Tracey
Niall Farrell is our correspondent at Tolka Park, covering the goings-on at Shelbourne. You can visit Niall's website for further information and contact details- niallf.net.