Meenan strike edges Dundalk past Limerick
Limerick FC 1 Dundalk 2
For vast chunks of this lively Thomond Park tussle, it appeared as if Limerick goalkeeper Barry Ryan's enduring excellence would frustrate Dundalk, but Stephen Kenny's title pretenders stayed the distance to edge a vital victory.
While Limerick's defending has been fairly sound so far this campaign, they have been caught out on occasion by set-pieces and that's exactly what happened in the 15th minute. Richie Towell's free-kick wasn't dealt with well and Dane Massey headed the ball into Brian Gartland's path.
The Blues were hesitant as Gartland pounced to give Dundalk a lead they scarcely deserved considering Limerick had started smartly.
Dundalk nearly added a second in the 28th minute, but Ryan made a fine save to thwart Towell.
Limerick were level on the half-hour mark as Shane Tracy converted a spot-kick following a foul on Danny Galbraith.
There was further drama 12 minutes after the restart when Towell's penalty brought another splendid save from Ryan after Shaun Kelly was deemed to have handled the ball in the area.
Darren Meenan and Patrick Hoban were then denied by Ryan, but the Limerick net was finally rattled in the 76th minute when substitute David McMillan located Meenan, who confidently secured a critical Dundalk victory.
Limerick FC – Ryan; Kelly, Whitehead, Folan, Williams; Duggan (McManus, 79), Agyemang, Hughes; Tracy (McGrath, 65), Gaffney, Galbraith (Rainsford, 89).
Dundalk – Cherrie; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Meenan, Shields, Towell, Horgan; Byrne (Higgins, 87), Hoban (McMillan, 72).
REF – N Doyle (Dublin).