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Sunday 19 November 2017

Market's Field of dreams beckons for Limerick's Stuart Taylor

Limerick manager Stuart Taylor with club chairman Pat O'Sullivan
Limerick manager Stuart Taylor with club chairman Pat O'Sullivan
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

LIMERICK manager Stuart Taylor is not regarded as a bullish post-match speaker, but two big wins over Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk had the Scot in chatty mood leaving Oriel Park on Friday night. He spoke at a million miles an hour as he contemplated the possibilities for next year.

While the club has enjoyed its stint in the luxury of Thomond Park, the priority is to complete work at their spiritual home at the Market's Field and the old-timers have been telling Taylor  exactly what the 'Field' means to them.

With regeneration funding the talk of the town in Limerick, owner Pat O'Sullivan is hoping to build momentum and get work completed in time for the start of the 2014 campaign.

Taylor has put a decent squad together, so expect them to feature at the right half of the table next year if he keeps the nucleus together.

That can only be good for the league – as will the promotion of Athlone Town, which brings another traditional country stronghold back to the top table.

The resurgence of Sligo Rovers and Dundalk has brought crowds back to those garrison towns and Athlone will be hoping to follow in those footsteps after a heartening turn-out for their big win over Waterford last Friday.

With one of Shelbourne, Bray Wanderers and UCD set to fall through the trap door and another heading for the play-off, there could be a reasonable regional spread in 2014.

It's been a hard road for the Athlone diehards from their final years in St Mel's Park to the early days in Lissywoollen where they struggled to compete, but can now look forward to national exposure.

With Roddy Collins in charge, there will be no shortage of publicity. The lapsed fans who ventured out for a look on Friday may soon find themselves doing it on a regular basis.

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