Airtricity League First Division

November 7, 2018

Limerick kept up the pressure on the sides at the top of the First Division with a valuable win away to luckless Longford Town on Saturday night.

It was hard on the Town who over the course of the game played some nice football and deserved something out of the game. They dominated for long spells but their inability to create chances or put them away when they came their way proved very costly. They also had to play the second half without Don Cowan who had to retire at half-time through injury. It was a massive blow for the Town.

Their woes were compounded seconds into the second half when Limerick took the lead for the second time through Sean Brosnan and it was a lead they didn’t relinquish. Although Town had possession after the break they failed to create anything that would help them get back into the game.

The Town took the game to Limerick and straight from the off they began to assert pressure. In the opening 10 minutes they created a few opportunities and were unlucky not to open the scoring.

Don Cowan opened up the Limerick defence on a few occasions and they found it hard to contain him. Keith Gillespie should’ve done better with his effort in the 7th minute which forced a save out of Lims keeper Barry Ryan. Minutes later Lee Roche headed over as the Town dominated proceedings.

The only effort on goal Limerick had in the opening quarter was a header from Pat Purcell that was off-target. But totally against the run of play the visitors broke the deadlock in the 17th minute. Paudie Quinn found Chris Breen and he made no mistake with a sweet strike. Two minutes later Sean O’Connor had a chance to double Limerick’s advantage but he dragged his shot wide.

Limerick’s goal rocked the Town but they worked hard to try and carve out an equaliser and deservedly got back on level terms in the 23rd minute. Mark Salmon played a beautiful ball to Cowan and he found the back of the net with an exquisite lob.

Apart from that bright opening period the game got very scrappy with mis-placed passes by both sides and they were both guilty of giving away the ball too easily. Cowan continued to be Town’s main threat but he received very little help and Town struggled to create many scoring opportunities. Neither goalkeeper had to make any saves of note as the sides went in at the break all square.

Supporters had barely made their way back to their seats after their half-time cuppa when Limerick regained the lead. The Town defence should’ve dealt with the situation better and Brosnan duly punished them to put his side back in front.

That was another blow for the Town who lost Cowan through injury at half-time. The striker caused untold problems in the first half and was sorely missed by the Town. With Austin Skelly, Jack Morley and Cathal Brady already out through injury it was the last thing Tony Cousins wanted.

Cowan’s injury was a massive turning point in the game. Although the Town had possession after the break they struggled to create anything that would trouble Ryan in the Lims goals and had no real efforts on target. Substitute Dan O’Reilly broke down the wing in the 58th minute, he cut inside and forced a save out of the Lims netminder.

After that they failed to conjure up anything that would help them get back on level terms. Limerick were quite poor after the break and failed to trouble Paul Hunt in the Town goals but they held on for the win.

Longford Town: Paul Hunt, Chris Deans, Paddy Collins, Des Hope, Gary Cronin, Aidan Roche (Jason Oldele 76), Keith Gillespie, Thomas Hyland (Craig Walsh 82), Mark Salmon, Don Cowan (Dan O’Reilly ht), Lee Roche .
Subs not used: Niall O’Reilly, Peter Sczcerbowski, Stephen Conlon.

Sendings Off: None.

Limerick :Barry Ryan, Corey Treacy, Brian McCarthy, Pat Purcell, John Frost, David O’Leary (Peter White 68), Sean O’Connor (Andrew Bandarkar 82), Jeffrey Judge, Paudie Quinn, Sean Brosnan (Peter Hynes 70), Chris Breen.

Subs not used: Garbhan Broughall, Stephen McGann, Barry Sheedy, Dave Ryan.

Bookings: Pat Purcell 49, John Frost 72.
Sendings Off: None. Man of the Match: Don Cowan (Longford Town): Was the best player on the pitch until he had to go off injured. No one came close to matching his performance in the second half.

Referee: Conor Fitzgerald (Dublin).

By: Denise O’Flaherty