LIMERICK FC manager Stuart Taylor hailed his players’ resilience in the dramatic 3-2 win over Dundalk at Thomond Park on Saturday evening.
The home side trailed 2-0 at half-time but goals from Shane Tracy, Rory Gaffney and Craig Curran marked a sensational second half comeback.
Limerick appeared to be heading for defeat after going two goals down but, according to Taylor, the players never thought that to be the case.
“We were never dead and buried, not with the players we have at this club. There was obviously room for improvement from the first half, but all credit to the players who came back after going two goals down against a team who are on form and the surprise package in the league.
“We went and got ourselves back into the game. I just asked the players if they believed in themselves and they turned around and showed how good a bunch of players they are. They showed that we’ve got quality in the team and they showed a great togetherness and fighting spirit. They went out and did it in the second half so all credit to them.”
Taylor acknowledged that a slice of luck played its part in the victory when, early in the second half with the score at 2-0, goalkeeper Barry Ryan got back to prevent Shaun Kelly’s scuffed clearance from landing in the net and killing off Limerick’s chances of getting a result.
He added that, after several games where fortune seemed to favour the Super Blues’ opponents, his team were due that bit of luck.
“I’ve always been a believer that you create your own luck and I think we’ve not had that this season up until the break. We’ve never really got our luck for the amount of work that the players put in but hopefully it’s turned. There’s quality there and when you’ve got that quality you need to use it. We have used it and hopefully Lady Luck is on our side now.”
Limerick’s stirring second half performance brought immense satisfaction for Taylor, who described Saturday’s win as one of the “most pleasing” results of the season.
He was also quite happy with how the goals came about, saying that his team dominated after half-time.
” To do that today, to come from 2-0 down against the on-form side in the league, it’s probably one of the most pleasing games that we’ve had up until now. It wasn’t as if we got three penalties. We got three quality goals and it’s how we went about and got the goals.
“We totally controlled the second half from start to finish and that’s a big pleasing factor for me as well because it’s not just a case of scoring goals. It’s great, it’s the ultimate but you’ve got to control games as well as opposed to just hitting three breakaways. It was great to see the boys passing the ball about and their movement off the ball and work rate was superb.”
Limerick haven’t had much time to savour that impressive victory as they are back in action on Monday night against Sligo Rovers in the EA Sports Cup quarter-finals.
It means a second game at Thomond Park in just three days, but Taylor has no concerns over the scheduling of the fixture and he has asked for local fans to vote with their feet in showing their support.
“These guys can go again without a doubt. Their fitness levels are great and on top of that the appetite, hunger and desire is there and that’s what we need. Don’t question their fitness levels; they’ll be fine. We did it about a month ago when we went to Derry, came back at six in the morning and went again two days later down to Cork.
“If your players are fit enough and if you’ve got the mental strength and appetite to play another game, then why not? Yes it’s against Sligo and they’re a decent side, but I’m not scared of them. We don’t fear anybody. There’s a great confidence and belief in the dressing room that we can win any game. I think we proved that since the start of the season, that every game we’ve gone into, we’ve tried to win. Not once have we said ‘we’ll take a point here’. We’ve always gone to try and win games and we’ll never be any different from that.
“We’re looking for as many supporters through the gate as possible for a couple of reasons – obviously financial reasons because we need money in the gate and coming through, but on top of that we need the supporters in to get behind the players. We’re looking for as many supporters to come through the gate on Monday night so they can see these guys performing in the way that they can.”
For winning goalscorer Curran, it sealed an excellent week which also saw him sign a new deal with the Super Blues.
The Liverpudlian striker rejected out of hand any speculation linking him with a return to England, saying that the Limerick fans are the best he has played for.
“There were rumours about me going back [to England] but that was never the case. I don’t know where that came from, whether other clubs were trying to link themselves with me, but that was never the case. I’ve always wanted to stay here with the fans and the way they’ve been.
“They welcomed me and they’re probably the best that I’ve played for. I’ve played for some decent clubs so that’s some statement. I went to the gaffer and I told him that I wanted to stay before they actually approached me so I just want to quash [the rumours] and say that was never the case.”