Blues out of luck and out of the cup

LIMERICK FC’s quest to reach the FAI Cup final fell short at the semi-final hurdle last Friday night against Cork City.

Tony Whitehead launches a Limerick attack during Friday night's cup semi-final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The only goal of the game at Turners Cross arrived on the 15-minute mark when Garry Buckley’s close-range header ultimately proved enough for the cup holders to advance to their third final in a row.

Cork had dominated the early stages but having gone in front, they were then pinned back in their own half by a determined Limerick side for large periods of the game.

The Super Blues twice came agonisingly close to equalising after half-time, firstly when Bastien Hery’s floated cross to Rodrigo Tosi was headed just over the bar by the Brazilian striker. Then, in the final five minutes, Cork scrambled the ball off the line following a Limerick corner.

Having beaten the champions-elect in the Premier Division a week previously and given them a real scare in the cup semi-final, Limerick manager Neil McDonald was rightly appreciative of the team’s efforts, although he rued the team’s slow start, saying: “I think we gave them a bit too much respect in the first 15 or 20 minutes and after that I thought we dominated the game.

“We played some really good football, caused them lots of problems and created enough chances to get ourselves back into the game but unfortunately the ball wouldn’t go across the line and we’re out.”

With the cup campaign over, Limerick now turn their full attention to ensuring that they remain in the Premier Division for next year. The first of a four-game run to the season’s end sees them travel to Richmond Park to face fellow survival chasers St Patrick’s Athletic on Saturday (kick-off 5pm).

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McDonald believes he has seen enough from his team’s recent performances to suggest that they can beat the drop.

He said: “Consistency is starting to come over the last seven or eight games. I was really pleased with the performance throughout the cup semi-final against a team that’s got a chance of doing the double. We’ve competed against a couple of teams in the top half of the league and it’s very encouraging that the displays are there.”

The disappointment of the cup defeat in Cork was put in tragic perspective over the weekend with the death of Mikey Holland, brother of Limerick goalkeeper Tommy Holland, following an illness. Limerick FC paid its respects by stating: “Everyone at Limerick FC sends our deepest, heartfelt condolences to Tommy Holland and his family following the passing of his brother Mikey.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Tommy, Mikey’s parents Michael and Jackie, brothers James, Kieran, Matthew, sister Abbie and all his family.”