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Limerick's last-gasp Barca plea

LIMERICK FC have made one last appeal to the FAI to go back on their decision to ban a July visit by European giants Barcelona to the city.

The club will be forced to cancel a planned friendly against Barca at Thomond Park on Saturday July 31 after the FAI, who sanction all senior soccer fixtures in the country, informed them that the game could not go ahead.

In a statement, the FAI claimed that they made their decision as plans are already in place for the FAI to bring Barca to Dublin for a game and the Limerick fixture would conflict with that.

Even more bizarrely, the FAI claimed that the Airtricity League programme for that day - games involving Sligo, Salthill Devon and Athlone - had precedence and could not compete with the Barca tie.

That explanation did not go down well at Limerick, who could have done with the cash and the publicity.

"The potential benefit to the local economy of up to €10 million and to the profile of soccer in the region is enormous. This makes it imperative that the Airtricity League Director reverse his decision and allow fans see the likes of Lionel Messi grace Thomond Park in July," Limerick chairman Pat O'Sullivan said today.