LIMERICK FC are in EA Sports Cup first round action tonight as they travel to Turner’s Cross to take on Cork City (kick-off 7:45pm).
The Super Blues began their 2014 Premier Division campaign with a 0-0 draw at home to Bray Wanderers and, speaking after that game, manager Stuart Taylor said that he will monitor the fitness of those players on the club’s lengthy injury list.
He said: “We’ll put a team out that we believe is good enough to win the game. We’ll see where we are fitness-wise and we’ll assess the whole squad. We’ll see where we are with the ones who didn’t make [Friday’s] game and see how they’re feeling. We’ll put a team on that will be good enough to go and win the game, bearing in mind we’ve got a game on Friday night [March 14] against Dundalk.
“There’s three games in a week which is great for our fitness levels. It’s great for our match fitness that might have been lacking through pre-season and it’s all part and parcel of pushing on for further in the season.
“There’s no easy games. Everybody comes out and sees us as a threat. Everybody must be on their game and they’re coming to play against us and they’re up for it which is great for us because it raises our standards as well. We’ve got Cork coming up. It’s a derby game and I’m quite sure it will be treated as a battle.”
The draw against Bray Wanderers came with collateral damage in the form of a red card for new Limerick FC captain Shane Duggan, who received his marching orders for a second bookable offence after going to ground in the Bray penalty area.
Taylor believed it to be a harsh decision from referee Kevin O’Regan, who was taking charge of his first Premier Division match, but he stopped short of further criticism of the Kerry official, who also sent off Bray midfielder David Cassidy for a lunge on Shane Tracy.
“We need to take the decisions that are given to us but I must say that I thought the second yellow for Shane was very soft. I think there was contact and he went down. I don’t think he made a meal of it.
“He’s a young referee and this is his first season up so he’s going to make mistakes. Whether that was a mistake or not, I’m not saying it, but he was on the ball tonight with a lot of his decisions. His reactions were very quick and I thought it was a great decision on the red card for the Bray boy. I thought [Cassidy’s tackle] was rash.”
Taylor was pleased that his team managed to keep Bray scoreless on Friday, but he conceded that Limerick’s performance lacked the fluidity and patience which was their trademark in 2013, even though the bumpiness of the Thomond Park forced the home side to rethink their passing game.
“We look at ourselves and I felt at times [on Friday] we didn’t play as fluently as what we could do. It’s a good start for us in terms of keeping a clean sheet. I thought the back five looked solid and I didn’t think there were any worrying times. As a defence they worked very well.
“It’s a point. It’s something to build on. It’s a clean sheet and we didn’t have enough of them last year. In terms of my targets I want more clean sheets and there’s one we struck off, so all credit to the back five for that.
“The boys are disappointed in the dressing room. They know they’ve got more to offer but I guess for our first game of the season and the way the pre-season went, we’re happy to have kept a clean sheet. We need to be more forceful in our play, more creative and more dominant in terms of moving the ball about.
“We did go a bit more direct than normal and it’s something the boys aren’t used to. They want to get the ball down and play because they’re good enough to do that. We didn’t want to take any chances across the back. I think we learned our lessons from bits and pieces last year where we tried to overcook it at times.
“We try to play a good standard of football and it’s now a case of us having to be cute and clever in how we play football. We try to do that; we try to play our football further up the pitch. I thought in spells of the game we moved the ball very well further up the pitch, but I like it to get played out from the back and have the chance to suck teams out and draw them out. That’s when you end up leaving space but we couldn’t do that tonight. We’re not moaning about anything. We take it as it is and there’s no excuses.”