Soccer – Top plays bottom as Limerick face Athlone


Screen shot 2016-07-21 at 12.58.00LIMERICK FC aim to take the next step towards promotion when they travel to face Athlone Town on Friday evening (kick-off 7:45pm).
Having won 16 out of 17 league games this season, the Super Blues need just five more victories from 11 matches to confirm an immediate return to the top flight.
Martin Russell’s men won 5-0 on their last trip to Athlone at Easter, while also picking up a 3-0 victory when the 7th-placed club visited Markets Field in May.
Last weekend, Limerick ran out 2-0 winners over Cobh Ramblers at home, with Lee-J Lynch and Chris Mulhall scoring inside a six minute period midway through the first half to secure the points.
It is a sign of the standards the leaders have set this season that Russell declared himself less than pleased with the final 20 minutes, with Cobh battling commendably to claw themselves back into the game.
The Limerick manager said: “The last 20 minutes probably wasn’t what I would have liked but the lads know that and they’ve worked very hard to get to where they are. They should be applauded for the efforts they’ve put in. I always look at the performance in its total and I won’t ignore the last 15-20 minutes – I would be stupid to do that.”
On a more positive note, club captain Shane Duggan made his long awaited return from injury, coming on for the final half an hour, while Aaron Greene played his first full game in weeks.
Russell was elated to have two key players back available for selection.
“They’re both players who have been out for a substantial amount of time and you need a recovery period, even when you get back in, to get yourself back to full pelt.
“The main thing is that they’re both on the field and we can continue working on the training ground with them.”