Hale hits Derry winner as doubts increase over Limerick's future
Limerick FC 0 Derry City 1
Ronan Hale added to Limerick's sorry tale of woe by hitting a 24th-minute winner for Derry at the Markets Field.
Limerick have paid their players up to date but still face a deeply uncertain future after the Revenue Commissioners filed a petition with a view to winding up the club's trading company.
As it stands, Tommy Barrett's side are on course for a promotion-relegation play-off, but the club could face a more significant battle if they are unable to pay the money owed to Revenue before their High Court date at the end of the month.
Bottom-of-the-table Bray Wanderers, whose automatic relegation could be confirmed tonight, will be monitoring the situation.
The Shannonsiders hit trouble during the midway point of the season and were forced to release their high earners to reduce their wage bill.
Owner Pat O'Sullivan had signalled ahead of the start of the season that he was on the lookout for new investment as he was unable to maintain his level of commitment to the club.
Accounts filed in recent years highlighted the importance of sponsorship and donations from O'Sullivan. Trading losses ranging from €300,000 to €400,000 per year were offset by the vital support of the benefactor.
A further complication this year was the increase of rent at the Markets Field which placed further strain on the club's finances.
There is local speculation in Limerick that prospective investors have held tentative talks about taking the reins, but that interest may be dependent on retaining Premier Division status.
Limerick made a decent start to last night's match, but Derry soon took control and Hale twice went close before finally beating Tommy Holland on 24 minutes after latching on to Nicky Low's through ball.
Karl O'Sullivan missed a great chance to equalise early in the second half and then Shane Tracy tested Ger Doherty from a free-kick that proved to be the last of the meaningful action as the Candystripes held on for a deserved win.
Limerick - Holland; Kelly, Cantwell, Kennedy, Tracy; Murphy, Coleman (Morrissey, 85); O'Sullivan (Dennehy, 80), Duggan, Fitzgerald; Maguire.
Derry - Doherty; McDonagh, Toal, Cole, Seaborne; Splaine, Low (Delap, 79); McEneff; Fisk, Hale, Shiels.
Ref - G Kelly (Cork).