Limerick pull off stunning escape in Sligo
Sligo Rovers 2 Limerick 3
Limerick pulled off the great escape with a fully deserved defeat of Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds last night.
Bottom of the table for most of the season, the Munster men climbed above Drogheda at the crucial time to earn themselves a promotion-relegation play-off against Finn Harps next week.
Goals from Shane Duggan, Paul O’Conor and Vinny Faherty secured Limerick’s sixth win in the last 12 games, despite Sander Puri and Ruairi Keating striking for Rovers.
And Limerick started off as a team on a mission, and their large band of travelling fans were in full voice as early as the fifth minute, as captain Shane Duggan put them in front. The midfielder smashed the ball left-footed just inside the post from a short corner, as the visitors enjoyed a dream start.
They were 2-0 up 20 minutes later, as Shane Tracy’s powerful shot from wide on the right smacked off the crossbar, and despite Richard Brush denying Paul O’Conor from the rebound, the former Sligo midfielder was able to head home at the second attempt.
Before that, Ian Turner curled a free-kick around the wall but Brush dived to make a brilliant save. Chances were plentiful at both ends, and Rovers had a great chance from the penalty spot on 15 minutes, as Dinny Corcoran was fouled by Patrick Kanyuka.
The recalled Corcoran stepped up himself having netted from the spot last week against St Pat’s, but his unconvincing effort was well saved by Freddy Hall.
Limerick always looked dangerous on the counter, and Faherty had a chance ten minutes before the break, but curled his shot the wrong side of the post.
Hall also made a great stop to deny Estonian international Puri from close range as he was put through by Corcoran.
But the winger got his goal right on the stroke of half-time, as he fired home from inside the area after some good work from Keith Ward.
Rovers made the better start to the second half, with Ward going close from a free-kick.
But Limerick were boosted when news filtered through of a Shamrock Rovers equaliser against Drogheda, and got their third just before the hour-mark when Vinny Faherty stabbed the ball home from close range.
Rovers made an attacking triple substitution soon after as Anthony Elding, Ruairi Keating and Gary Armstrong all came on.
Elding almost got on the end of a superb ball from Danny Ledwith with 15 minutes left, but he could not direct it on goal.
But Keating made no mistake when heading home Raffaele Cretaro’s cross at the death for his first senior goal.
Sligo Rovers – Brush, Cretaro, Keane, Peers, Ledwith, Myrie-Williams, Cawley, Ward (Armstrong 68), Puri, Nielsen (Elding 68), Corcoran (Keating 68).
Limerick – Hall, Kelly, Kanyuka, Williams, Tracy, Clarke (Guedje 88), Russell, O’Conor, Duggan, Turner, Faherty (Mann 83).
Ref – T Connolly