LIMERICK FC finished the 2014 SEE Airtricity League Premier Division in the top half of the table in sixth place, one higher than last season’s final position.
The Super Blues even went into last Friday’s final round of games with a chance of finishing fifth, but a 1-0 defeat away to Shamrock Rovers prevented them from doing so. The only goal of the game arrived shortly after half-time when Gary McCabe converted a debatable penalty for the Hoops at Tallaght Stadium.
Derry’s defeat to Bohemians ensured that Limerick would not be surpassed in sixth, a finishing position that looked unlikely when manager Martin Russell took charge in the second week of July with the Shannonsiders in 11th.
In 14 games since the former UCD boss took over, Limerick have won seven and lost seven, a 50 per cent record that has accounted for just more than half of their points in the 33-game league campaign.
The Super Blues possessed one of the league’s form strikers in Rory Gaffney, who struck 14 goals this year and was named as the SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month for August, the first Limerick FC recipient of the prize in more than 20 years.
The flip side of Gaffney’s excellent season is that Limerick will face a battle to hold on to the striker, who has attracted keen interest from other League of Ireland clubs.
After a turbulent year in which the club briefly occupied a relegation play-off spot, parted company with ex-manager Stuart Taylor in early July and lost a number of first team players, sixth place represents a positive showing for the Super Blues.
The future for the club looks considerably brighter with a return to the Markets Field on the horizon after two years of playing at Thomond Park, with thoughts already turning to what promises to be an eventful 2015 season on Shannonside.