Meile rescues Hoops to deny gritty Limerick
Limerick FC 1 Shamrock Rovers 1
Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon was in upbeat form after Brandon Miele's 86th-minute equaliser preserved his team's unbeaten start to the season, although he believed that the Hoops were denied a clear penalty by referee Graham Kelly.
A fifth draw from 10 games leaves the Hoops six points behind leaders Dundalk, prompting Fenlon to declare with tongue firmly in cheek: "It's all over, I suppose. Dundalk have won it already so we'll see if we can finish second and we'll keep going.
"I didn't think our first half performance is where we had been but in the second half we passed the ball a lot better, got it into the box and created a lot of chances. If we had scored a little bit earlier, we might have got a second as well.
"I felt we should have had a penalty for handball. I'm not sure about the goal whether it was onside or offside so maybe that balances itself out."
Limerick boss Martin Russell viewed the result as "a point gained" for his team, despite the Premier Division's bottom club coming within four minutes of their first win of the season.
"It's probably a point gained. We were under the cosh for a bit and they outnumbered us in chances, but I couldn't ask more of the group with where we are at the moment and the effort they gave. Rovers have assembled a strong squad and they're in the top three, so it's a good point.
Shane Duggan's 13th-minute strike had given the home side an unexpected lead, one which they stubbornly maintained under heavy pressure until the closing stages, when Rovers' persistence finally told and Miele found a way past Conor O'Donnell.
Limerick FC - O'Donnell; Harding, O'Connor, Price, Tracy; Turner (Rainsford 73), O'Conor, Duggan, Russell; Clarke (Hughes 83), Faherty.
Shamrock Rovers - Hyland; Madden, Kenna, D O'Connor, Byrne; Cregg (Miele 62), R Brennan; S O'Connor (North 62), Fahey, G Brennan; Drennan.
Ref - G Kelly (Cork).