Two goals from Seán Brennan and a sublime free kick from Philly Hughes were enough to see a very technically superior Monaghan side progress to the semi-finals of the EA Sports Cup.
Monaghan took control early on from a deflated Limerick side who had their own issues to worry about as both culprits from the fight in Flancare Park started alongside each other in midfield, both having relatively quiet games.
The first real chance fell to Philly Hughes as tireless midfielder Brennan tricked his way around the Limerick backline, crossing to Hughes for the simplest of tap-ins, however Dave Ryan performed a heroic save to deny the ex-Kildare man.
Limerick never really got a grip on the game as the away side saw most of the ball and certainly produced more with their share. The Blues only chance of the game fell to Daryl Kavanagh who shot just over on the half volley from thirty yards.
Monaghan took the lead after the half hour mark as Paddy Purcell was booked for a foul on Dom Tierney. From the resulting free kick, Phillip Hughes struck the ball with complete finesse and it whistled past the wall, in off the post to break the deadlock.
A scrappy affair from here on-in only saw Limerick hoof the ball in hope that lone striker Stephen Hickey could produce, though he failed miserably.
Pat Scully’s side tend to come out second half with all guns blazing however this wasn’t the case on Shannonside tonight as the home side folded at the hands of a well disciplined Mick Cooke side. The pass and movement was second to none and the touches of Brennan were a delight, and acted as a bitter token of compensation for the bemused home support.
The second goal was inevitably on its way, and ten minutes into the second half, a superb chipped ball over the Limerick defence confused Dave Ryan in the Limerick goal, who misjudged the trajectory and Brennan was left with the easiest of finishes to put the away side two goals to the good.
Limerick rang in the substitutions after this, the introduction of Robbie Kelleher who is usually a livewire up front, along with the technical ability of Hungarian youngster Peter Balough seemed to be a threat big enough for Limerick to claw themselves back into the game, however it was the away side on the ascendancy.
Fifteen minutes from the end, Brennan went on a surging run down the left wing, past one, past two, weaved his way past Gavin Roche and curled a superb effort into the bottom corner, to secure Monaghan’s place in the semi-finals. A lack of enthusiasm was evident from Scully’s young side and a major boost is going to be needed if their promotion aspirations aren’t going to be short lived.
Limerick FC: Ryan, Roche, Kelly, Purcell, Cahill, Kavanagh, Hughes (Kelleher 55) , White, Judge, Lyons (Balough 58) , Hickey (McGrath 55) .
Subs not Used: McGuinness, Stanley.
Monaghan United: Sava, McMahon, Costigan, Lynch, Gartland, Tierney, O’Connor, Collins, Bermingham, Hughes, Brennan.
Subs not Used: McKevitt, Clarke, McMahon, Hannaphy, Byrne.
Referee: Padraig Sutton
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Seán Brennan
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.