A late acrobatic effort from Limerick front man Shane Clarke prevented a spirited Cobh side from getting an extra 30 minutes at Jackman Park on Tuesday night.
The overhead kick ensured Limerick progress into the next round of the EA Sports Cup and heartbreak for Cobh, as only twenty minutes before young Jamie Murphy scored a long range effort after Limerick had broken the deadlock shortly after half time thanks to Clarke once more.
A lively start to the game saw the Cork outfit run at Limerick, with the efforts of Murphy a particular highlight. However, the first real chance of the game fell to Limerick winger John Boyle, as he volleyed into the keeper's arms after a mistake from Cobh defender Gary Collins.
Limerick were proving the more likely as another close effort from Daryl Kavanagh gave Cobh net-minder Kevin McCarthy something to worry about. The keeper looked lively and his performance was keeping Ramblers in the contest.
Cobh seemed lifeless in front of goal as the first half crafted no opportunities for them and they were relieved to hear the half-time whistle.
At the start of the second half, Limerick began to up the pace with John Tierney making his impact from the bench. His pace and unpredictability is what have made him one of the most feared strikers in the division, and this continued to be the case as he terrorised the fragile Cobh backline for the remainder of the match.
Six minutes into the second half Limerick’s pressure paid off as a through ball slipped in between the centre halves from former Cobh winger Kavanagh was enough to see Shane Clarke bury a powerful effort into the bottom corner.
This made Cobh push on more, and they got their reward on 70 minutes as Jamie Murphy struck a half volley from all of 25 yards, which seemed to bounce in front of Limerick stopper Dave Ryan, and nestle into the bottom corner.
Limerick had several opportunities thereafter, although many could be only considered half chances. The majority came from set pieces as Limerick's dead ball ability became obvious. Headers from Clarke and Tierney found only the top of the crossbar.
Into added time a long free kick which wasn’t cleared properly, fell invitingly for Clarke on the edge of the D, he threw himself into the air as he connected with the ball with a spectacular bicycle kick. The ball flew past McCarthy between the sticks. The relief was evident.
The drama didn’t end there as Emmet O’Hanlon was adjudged to have merited a straight red card from the Clare official. It seemed harsh, but Cobh ended the game with ten men as Mr. Sutton blew for full time seconds after, ensuring Limerick progress.
Limerick FC: Dave Ryan; Daniel Clinton, Paddy Purcell, Peter White, Martin Deady, John Boyle, Thomas Lyons, Sean Kelly (Shane Tracey 51), Daryl Kavanagh, Shane Clarke, Robbie Kelleher (John Tierney 56).
Subs not Used: Brian Collopy, Gavin Roche, Nigel Stanley.
Cobh Ramblers: Kevin McCarthy, Anthony Flanagan, John Forrest, Danny Langford, Gary Collins, Shane Spillane (Ross O’Donovan Wyat 67), Jordan O’Leary, Emmett O’Hanlon, Jamie Murphy, Jonathan Spillane (Stephen Madine 83), Pierce Donnachie.
Subs not Used: Shane Geasley, Eoin O’Riordan, Dave Stack.
Booked: Jordan O’Leary.
Sent off: Emmett O’Hanlon
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Shane Clarke
Andrew joined Extratime for the 2010 season and covers all the on-goings down in Limerick. Having first experienced the League of Ireland in 2002, Andrew became hooked, even at such an early age. He is currently studying English and New Media at the University of Limerick. You can contact him via Twitter @Cunneen92.