Soccer – Signings have boosted Limerick’s survival hopes

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Vinny Faherty's powerful shot beats Richard Brush in the Sligo Rovers goal for Limerick fc's openerFOLLOWING last weekend’s 3-2 victory at home to Sligo Rovers, Limerick FC’s first in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division this year after 22 games, manager Martin Russell alluded to the impact of recent signings on the squad.
Freddy Hall, Shaun Kelly and Patrick Kanyuka all started in Saturday’s match, with the other July arrival, striker Cyril Guedje, appearing from the bench.
Two first half goals from Vinny Faherty gave Limerick a 2-0 interval lead before Rob Lahane halved Sligo’s deficit. Dean Clarke’s 64th-minute strike took a wicked deflection off ex-Super Blue Jason Hughes to restore the home side’s two-goal lead, but a late Gary Armstrong goal ensured a nervy finish to the match.
Russell pointed to the experience of the recent additions and the plundering of the first goal as critical factors in finally shaking off the winless burden.
“I think it shows you the importance of the first goal. There have been many games this season where our play was OK and we had early chances but didn’t take them and then we got the body blow.
“If you get the first goal, it does help and there hasn’t been too many occasions where we’ve achieved that, but we’d like to continue that in future.
“There was a number of crucial moments in the game where the quality of senior players in certain positions meant we could deal with [the opposition] and that was pleasing.”
The win allowed Limerick to reduce the gap on Sligo to seven points with 11 matches remaining and has given the Super Blues slightly renewed hope of avoiding a seemingly inevitable relegation. However, Russell warned that his team would need to finish the season remarkably strongly to have any hope of staying in the Premier Division.
“We probably need at least six wins to have any realistic chance, but I think we’re in a better shape to attack that target now than we were three weeks ago. We need a bit of luck as well and it’s been that type of season where we didn’t get it early on. It’s going to be a lot of work but we’re committed to it and we’re a little bit more buoyant now than we were a couple of weeks ago.”
Limerick go in search of a second consecutive win when they welcome Bohemians to Markets Field on Saturday evening (kick-off 6:30pm), hoping to avenge 3-0 and 2-1 defeats from earlier in the season.