Shamrock Rovers played out their fifth draw from six games in the league so far this season with a 1-1 result in Limerick on Tuesday evening. Rovers had taken the early lead from Sean O’Connor in front of a crowd of 3,000 in Thomand Park. Craig Curren equalised for the Shannonsiders but his side couldn’t push on to claim the winner. That was despite the Hoops playing most of the second half with only ten men after Ken Oman picked up a yellow card either side of the interval.
It was Shamrock Rovers who grabbed the opener from Sean O’Connor on nine minutes. The Rovers winger dispossessed Limerick captain Joe Gamble and took the ball forward. His right foot shot beat Shane Cusack low to the keeper’s right.
A timely interception by Limerick’s Shaun Kelly was required to take the ball off Gary McCabe's toe just as the Rovers player was about to pull the trigger. The ball fell to James Chambers but his shot was hit directly at Cusack. Chambers all evening was keen to shoot as he picked up loose clearances from Limerick on a number of occasions but couldn’t beat the Limerick keeper.
It was Stephen Rice who next went close on for Rovers 20 minutes as his header from a Ronan Finn cross flew over the bar. When Patrick Nzuzi fouled Karl Sheppard, it allowed Sean O’Connor to whip a free kick over the Limerick wall but Cusack was in a good position to gather.
Limerick’s opportunities came mostly from set pieces in the first half with Stephen Folan floating a number of dangerous free kicks into the Dubliners box. On 27 minutes, one of his centres came to Shaun Kelly at the back post. His shot was pushed over the bar by the Rovers keeper Barry Murphy.
The Hoops didn’t learn their lesson and two minutes later it was Craig Curran who got on the end of Folan free and he made no mistake slotting the ball home for the equaliser. Rovers had a shout for a penalty six minutes before half-time when James Chambers’ shot struck Aaron Browne. Referee Paul Tuite blew his whistle but only for a corner and not the penalty that Rovers demanded.
Just before half-time Rovers centre-back Ken Oman went in the book for a foul on Shane Tracy. It proved to be a costly concession as four minutes into the second half, he pulled back Craig Curran. With the linesman signaling for a foul, the referee produced a second yellow for Oman and he was off. Trevor Croly moved Pat Sullivan into centre-half and pushed Stephen Rice back to right back as Rovers went 4-4-1.
Karl Sheppard had a couple of chances to put Rovers back in the lead after that. His toe poke from a James Chambers through ball couldn’t beat Cusack. On 59 minutes he did beat the Shannonsiders goalkeeper but his shot came back off the cross bar. Limerick lived life on the edge even with the extra man and they allowed Sean O’Connor lob Cusack from the right on 72 minutes. The ball fell kindly back into the goalkeeper’s hands as Rovers queried had the ball gone over the line but the officials said no.
Both sides went seeking the winner in the final 15 minutes but Limerick couldn’t test the Rovers makeshift defence. Shane Treacy had a couple of shots at the Rovers goal but the Dubliners defence stood firm for a Thomand Park stalemate.
Limerick FC: Shane Cusack; Shaun Kelly, Aaron Browne, Stephen Folan, Patrick Nzuzi; Joe Gamble; Shane Tracy, Stephen Bradley (Rory Gaffney 65), David O’Leary, Danny Galbraith; Craig Curran.
Subs not Used: Stephen Walsh, Shane Costelloe, Pat Purcell, Barry Sheedy, Steven McGann, Darragh Rainsford.
Booked: Patrick Nzuzi (24).
Shamrock Rovers; Barry Murphy; Pat Sullivan (c), Ken Oman, Derek Foran, Conor Powell; James Chambers; Ronan Finn, Stephen Rice; Gary McCabe (Thomas Stewart 63), Karl Sheppard, Sean O’Connor (Ciaran Kilduff 88).
Subs not used: Richard Brush, Conor McCormack, Shane Robinson, Danny Ledwith, Mark Quigley.
Booked: Ken Oman (45).
Sent Off: Ken Oman (49).
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Shane Treacy (Limerick).
Macdara made his debut as a football supporter in Lansdowne Road watching Ireland defeat Liechtenstein. He still believes one day he will see his club Shamrock Rovers win an FAI Cup. You can follow Macdara on twitter @macdarabueller
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