Thursday 30 March 2017

Limerick aim for perfect opening night at Markets Field

Limerick FC manager Martin Russell will oversee his team as they play at their spiritual home, Markets Field, after a 31-year absence
Limerick FC manager Martin Russell will oversee his team as they play at their spiritual home, Markets Field, after a 31-year absence
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

A new chapter for football in Limerick kicks off tonight when they return to their spiritual home at Markets Field after a 31-year absence.

Martin Russell's side host Drogheda United in a Premier Division encounter that will have emotional significance for long-serving fans of the club.

It has been a long road back to the redeveloped stadium - the Limerick hierarchy had originally intended being in situ at the start of this season.

They still have work to do at the venue, but it has been passed fit for the visit of the Louth men in a game that is crucial from a football perspective for the hosts as well as the symbolic importance.

Russell's charges are rock bottom of the table, six points adrift of Bray. Drogheda are fourth last and this will be viewed as a game that the natives can win.

Limerick midfielder Shane Duggan is looking forward to the occasion, especially as there's a strong family link to the ground through his father Ger, who graced the old venue.

"My dad was the last person to score there so it would be nice if I could get a goal myself," said Duggan.

"He has been telling me a lot of stories about when they played there last so hopefully we can get the crowds coming back again. We're hoping to bring back memorable days and lots of success there."

The game of the night is at Oriel Park, where league leaders Dundalk welcome fourth-placed Bohemians to town.

"Dundalk are the benchmark at the moment for other teams to follow," said Bohs boss Keith Long. "People will consider us major underdogs but we're not going up there without hope."

Irish Independent

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