Friday 19 October 2018

Limerick hold on to secure top-flight status

Limerick FC 2 Galway United 2

Chiedozie Ogbene of Limerick FC celebrates. Photo: Sportsfile
Chiedozie Ogbene of Limerick FC celebrates. Photo: Sportsfile

independent.ie Sportsdesk

Limerick FC sealed their Premier Division status despite relinquishing a two-goal lead in a game that their opponents dominated for large spells.

First-half goals from Rodrigo Tosi and Chiedozie Ogbene had Neil McDonald's side in a commanding position at the interval, but with Ronan Murray and Eoin McCormack drawing Galway level, the home fans' nerves were frayed at Markets Field.

Limerick FC manager Neil McDonald with Galway United manager Shane Keegan exchange pleasantries. Photo: Sportsfile
Limerick FC manager Neil McDonald with Galway United manager Shane Keegan exchange pleasantries. Photo: Sportsfile

Kick-off was delayed by 25 minutes after referee Anthony Buttimer deemed that Limerick's home shirt of blue with white sleeves clashed with Galway's white away shirt.

This bizarre saga was ended when Limerick agreed to wear their luminous away kit, both teams ultimately donning their change strips.

When proceedings finally got underway, the dangerous Rory Hale had a couple of efforts repelled by Brendan Clarke and Galway almost hit the front on 26 minutes when Marc Ludden delivered an inviting diagonal cross towards Hale and McCormack, but there was too much on it.

A couple of minutes later, Clarke made a fine save from Gavan Holohan, who had the ball in the Limerick net just after the half-hour but the goal was disallowed for offside.

Marc Ludden of Galway United in action against Stephen Kenny of Limerick FC. Photo: Sportsfile
Marc Ludden of Galway United in action against Stephen Kenny of Limerick FC. Photo: Sportsfile

Limerick had been under the cosh but went ahead against the run of play in the 34th minute when Colm Horgan pushed Ogbene in the area and Buttimer awarded the penalty. Tosi converted the spot-kick to give Limerick the lead.

Galway were nearly level two minutes later, Clarke producing a brilliant reaction save to deny Kevin Devaney; it was the goalkeeper's last involvement before going off injured.

The home side doubled their lead just before the interval when Stephen Kenny's cross was dispatched from close range by Ogbene.

Galway pulled a goal back just two minutes after half-time when a calamitous backwards header from Bastien Hery dropped straight to Murray, who turned and slid the ball to the net.

The visitors were awarded a penalty on 70 minutes, but substitute goalkeeper Freddy Hall produced a stupendous save to get down to his left.

Galway then had a second penalty awarded in the 81st minute when Hall clattered into Murray, and McCormack kept his nerve to equalise.

The hosts nervously held on in the final stages to secure their top-flight status, but Galway will have to wait until next week to see if they can do likewise.

Limerick FC - B Clarke (Hall 41); D Clarke, Whitehead, O'Connor, Tracy; Hery; Kenny (Cotter 76), Lynch, Duggan (Crowe 46), Ogbene; Tosi.

Galway United - Winn; Hogan, Folan, Maher (Cunningham 90+1); Devaney (Shanahan 90+1), Holohan, Cawley, Ludden; Murray, Hale, McCormack (Melody 90+3).

Ref - A Buttimer (Cork)

Irish Independent

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