After a shock defeat to Munster rivals Waterford United a fortnight ago, Limerick faced a tricky away trip to Mervue United – a tough challenge for even the biggest of title favourites. The Shannonsiders emerged from the game with a victory, however the performances still seem to lack that killer edge.
Limerick's squad depth will be put to the test on Friday night as doubts hang over the fitness of Stephen Bradley, Sean Brosnan and Shane Guthrie. David O’Leary and Corie Treacy are expected to fill the holes left by Bradley and Guthrie in the starting XI.
Pat Scully has been very quick to dismiss the arrogance of people toward Limerick’s title challenge, having branded certain expectations as “rubbish talk”. “I can tell you that that attitude is not coming from me or the players. It seems to be the rest of the country but there are impossible expectations out there that we should be winning six and seven nil against certain teams,” said Scully. “What people have to understand is that you have to win certain games in certain ways and that’s what we will try to do” he added.
Perhaps three wins out of four might sway people’s opinions regarding the togetherness of a Limerick side that, on the surface, does not appear to be blending perfectly well just yet. However, a massive boost for the Limerick faithful is that Garry Sheahan is extremely close to full fitness having started the victory in Fermoy during the week. The fans favourite should be in the squad for Friday night.
Limerick will face Galway opposition for the second week in a row as SD Galway roll into town. The re-branded version of Salthill Devon will most likely find it tough at Jackman Park, despite its predecessor earning a point from the Blues on their last outing on Shannonside. A Brian Geraghty thunderbolt was enough for Devon to pick a point from Limerick’s pockets that night, and if the same work ethic is applied this time around, SD could well pick up their first points of the season away from home.
Despite decent performances, Salthill have only managed a single point from their opening three games; albeit a point more than local rivals Mervue United have obtained. A two-one opening day defeat in Lissywoolen got Devon off to the worst possible start as a late Enda Curran goal could only provide a minor conciliation for the visitors on the night. They were off the mark the week after though. A late Brian Gaffney equaliser cancelled out Shane Dempsey’s goal as Wexford only managed to take a point from Terryland Park despite their heroics the week previously.
The recipients of that thrashing from Wexford were, ironically, next in line for Tony Mannion’s side. A trip to the RSC was going to prove a tough battle for anyone to take on, provided United had beaten Limerick the week prior to the fixture. Despite a valiant effort, a solitary Willie John Kiely goal took all the points for the home side, but SD could leave knowing they put up a fight. It would appear that Mannion has instilled a belief among the players, and they will certainly need that belief when they travel to Shannonside. Brian Gaffney and Kieran Foley are the only absentees for Galway.
Referee: Sean Grant.
Despite what some may think, ties between the sides have mostly been tight affairs. Salthill stole a point at Jackman Park last season, with Limerick always winning by a single goal at former home Drom.
The 81st minute equaliser last season from Brian Geraghty had cost Limerick two points. Limerick lost out on promotion by a single point to Monaghan United.
Shane Tracy has scored four times against Salthill in their six fixtures, and missed two penalties as well.
Limerick 1/7 Draw 11/2 SD Galway 14/1
Limerick 3-1 SD Galway
Limerick Injury News: Shane Guthrie, Stephen Bradley, Sean Brosnan.
SD Galway Injury News: Brian Gaffney, Kieran Foley.
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.