Limerick FC face uncertain future ahead of Dundalk trip

Limerick manager Tommy Barrett has prepared the team for the trip for Dundalk despite ongoing rumours surrounding the club's future. Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

LIMERICK FC has been rocked by news in recent days that there were insufficient funds to pay the club’s players their wages on time for May, with the players informed of the bleak situation less than two hours before Friday’s match against Bohemians.

Chairman Pat O’Sullivan has long been calling for other sources of investment in the club, having poured millions of Euro from his own pocket into Limerick FC over the past decade.

However, with some of his business ventures facing severe financial problems, the funding is not there to cover Limerick’s week-to-week expenditure. Even a sequence of 11 home matches in 94 days could not generate sufficient cash flow to stave off what could become a dire situation.

On Tuesday, senior figures from Limerick FC met with the players to discuss their individual futures, with representatives from the PFAI also meeting the players for further discussion on what comes next. At the time of going to press, club bosses indicated that the players’ wages for May would be paid this week.

However, it remains likely that substantial cost-cutting measures will need to be implemented over the coming weeks and months. When the summer transfer window opens in July, it is expected that several of the club’s highest earners will move elsewhere.

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Brendan Clarke, Conor Clifford, Eoin Wearen and Daniel Kearns are believed to be among those attracting attention from other League of Ireland clubs. Players whose contracts aren’t terminated will most likely be offered significantly reduced deals with the club.

At present, experienced duo Shaun Kelly and Shane Tracy are the only part-time players at Limerick, but this number is anticipated to grow as the club faces the distinct possibility of reverting to a part-time setup, a scenario that could make the current fight against relegation even tougher.

Limerick manager Tommy Barrett has declined to comment on the financial situation, while the club has not issued any official correspondence on the matter.

On the pitch, the Super Blues drew 1-1 with Bohemians last Friday, their first point at home since mid-March. Barry Maguire had given the home side a first half lead at Markets Field, but Dan Casey struck late to rescue a point for Bohs.

Barrett’s men travel to Oriel Park this Friday to take on Dundalk, who are currently second in the Premier Division and beat Limerick 8-0 in the corresponding fixture in February.