Limerick FC 0-0 Bray Wanderers
LIMERICK FC got their SSE Airtricity League campaign off to an underwhelming start after a stormy goalless draw at home to Bray Wanderers on Friday night.
Both teams finished with 10 men after red cards in the second half for Shane Duggan, in his first league game as Limerick captain, and Bray’s David Cassidy, while goalscoring chances were few and far between.
Limerick managed to carve out an early opportunity when Jason Hughes pulled the ball back for Darragh Rainsford, who curled a cross into the danger zone but it was too high for Rory Gaffney.
The game entered a brief scrappy period which saw Patrick Nzuzi and Duggan booked for the Super Blues, with Cassidy entering referee Kevin O’Regan’s book soon after.
On 25 minutes a long ball over the top from Bray picked out Adam Hanlon and Limerick goalkeeper Shane Cusack had to be alert to snuff out the danger.
The home side were surprisingly sloppy on the ball and their inability to clear in the 27th minute created a chance for Hanlon, his snap shot flying over the bar.
Bray continued to apply pressure and when Kelly turned to shoot with his left foot, Cusack had to make a reaction one-handed save.
Limerick next threatened in the 32nd minute when a clever disguised pass by Jason Hughes picked out Shaun Kelly, but his shot didn’t trouble Bray netminder Shane Redmond.
Four minutes before the interval, Jake Kelly again managed to turn just outside the Limerick penalty box and fire a low shot which drifted just wide of Cusack’s left post.
Limerick were slightly improved after the break and they had plenty of possession in the Bray half, but Redmond was never really troubled.
He was called upon to make a vital save in the 64th minute, though, when a Shane Tracy corner was met by Samuel Oji and his close-range header was tipped it over the bar by the Bray goalkeeper.
The red mist made its first descent on 66 minutes when Duggan appeared to be tripped in the Bray penalty area, but O’Regan saw it as a dive and he showed the Limerick captain a second yellow card. When the referee turned down another penalty appeal for handball three minutes later, the home fans’ ire grew further.
Bray substitute Ismahil Akinade had an eventful five minutes when he was booked for simulation, hit the deck to prompt a stoppage in play and was the subject of a challenge which saw Oji booked.
In the 77th minute O’Regan was reaching for his pocket again when Cassidy lunged at Tracy and was shown a straight red card. Shaun Kelly was then booked for getting involved with the Bray midfielder in the aftermath of the tackle.
The last good opening of the night came with five minutes to go, Val Feeney playing a delicate pass over the top to Gaffney, only for a superb challenge by Adam Mitchell to snuff out the attack.
There were no goals to cheer on a disappointing night for Limerick, with the only real talking points coming from two red cards as the 2014 season got off to a hot-tempered start.
Limerick FC: Cusack, Kelly, Oji, Folan, Williams, Duggan, Nzuzi (Feeney 50), Hughes, Tracy, Gaffney, Rainsford.
Bray Wanderers: Redmond, Webster, Mitchell, McGill, Cassidy, Kelly, Zambra, Hanlon, C Byrne (Akindade 62), Maloney, S Byrne.
Referee: Kevin O’Regan