Airtricity League First Division

November 7, 2018

The deadlock failed to be broken in the second meeting of Limerick and Cork this season. Chances were at a premium for both sides and a draw always looked the likely outcome on Shannonside on this Monday evening.

Cork lined out with the same eleven that started the previous games against Wexford and Mervue while Limerick replaced Garbhan Coughlan with Chris Breen from the team that won in Drom last Thursday.

Limerick started the brighter and looked to keep possession from the get-go, but their diamond formation allowed space in the heart of the pitch for Shane Duggan to become influential. Cork’s main tactic, as seen throughout, was to launch the ball to Graham Cummins, to hold it up, and wait for oncoming support. Limerick dealt with this very well as captain Pat Purcell rarely lost a high ball to the league’s top scorer. The first chance of the game arrived after ten minutes when Chris Breen found himself twenty yards from goal. To his right, Paudie Quinn made an intelligent run inside the full back and the ex-Harps winger played a fantastic through ball into his path. Quinn however, fired well over the bar and the first effort on goal was a weak one.

The signing of Peter Hynes has been an inspired one and it was he who brought the game to life. He was Limerick’s target man from the long ball, and the threat on the ground. Twenty minutes in, he exhibited this. He received the ball in a wide position and managed to turn well. From here, he took a final touch before unleashing a well struck shot that just went over McNulty’s crossbar. The away side had their first real chance after twenty five minutes. Cummins finally managed to win a header against the towering figure of Paddy Purcell and Davin O’Neill made a clever run around the back. He approached at pace from an angle, but his tame effort was well held by Barry Ryan.

The best chance of the first half fell to that man Peter Hynes once again. Sean O’Connor, who is starting to settle in at Limerick, played a fantastically floated ball into the near post area. Hynes got their first, but his header went wide of the goal. Moments later, the same man caught a dropping ball clean on the volley, and what seemed at first a tame effort, had Mark McNulty scampering across goal to tip it around the post. This brought the half to a close, and Limerick were unlucky not to be ahead.

With what was a very good attendance by First Division standards, and a very good atmosphere to match, the second half only encouraged the home support. Five minutes in, a driven John Frost ball found the tireless Hynes ten yards from goal, this time his header veered just wide. Limerick were on the front foot. David O’Leary was the next to have a couple of efforts, neither really bothering McNulty in the Cork goal. Just shy of the hour mark, Brian O’Callaghan was caught in possession of the ball on the edge of his own box. Vinny Sullivan caught him off guard, and as O’Callaghan went down, Shane Duggan found himself running onto the perfectly placed ball. He somehow managed to miss from all of six yards, while the Cork fans were in mid-air prematurely celebrating.

Brian O’Callaghan then had to be stretchered off while a respectful home crowd sounded their appreciation. His gap was filled by Brian McCarthy. The best action of the game arrived with twenty minutes to go. Sean O’Connor was in space down the left wing. His little flick fed the on-rushing Jeffrey Judge. He dragged his effort across goal as far as Chris Breen who hit the post from an agonisingly acute angle. Shane Duggan constantly found a lot of space in between the midfield and defenders. His runs weren’t often tracked and this nearly came to fruition late on as he stormed through, only to fall off balance, and shoot wide. His head was in his hands after that one.

Little else happened worth mentioning, as the fourth official held up five added minutes, both managers seemed content with a point and the game filtered out as it began, goalless. So, an entertaining enough Munster derby watched by a decent crowd; both sides pick up a point each, but the real winners from this tie are Shelbourne and Monaghan.

Limerick FC: Barry Ryan, Corie Treacy (Peter White 45), John Frost, Brian O’Callaghan (Brian McCarthy 57), Pat Purcell, Jeffrey Judge, Sean O’Connor, David O’Leary, Padraic Quinn, Peter Hynes, Chris Breen.
Subs not used: David Ryan, Sean Brosnan, Andrew Bhandarkar, Garbhan Coughlan, Steven McGann.

Cork City: Mark McNulty, Kalen Spillane, Greg O’Halloran, Gavin Kavanagh, Danny Murphy, Neale Horgan, Shane Duggan (Escude-Candau 84), Gearóid Morrissey, Davin O’Neil, Graham Cummins.
Subs not used: James McCarthy, Kieran Kenneally, Stephen Mulcahy, Jamie Murphy, Derek O’Brien, Ian Turner.

Referee: John McLaughlin

Official Attendance: 778