LIMERICK FC face St. Patrick’s Athletic at the Markets Field on Friday night in the club’s last home game of the regular season (kick off 7.45). The club has endured a tough season and are preparing for a promotion/relegation playoff clash against either Drogheda United or Finn Harps starting with an away leg on Monday, October 29.
Drogheda and Finn Harps played out a 1-1 draw at Hunky Dorys Park in Drogheda. Limerick may have a smaller advantage due to the home leg taking place on the following Friday at the Markets Field. However, preparations for the two-legged playoff have not been particularly pleasing for Super Blues boss Tommy Barrett. Outside of the win against already relegated Bray, Limerick have lost several outings including a 3-0 defeat to former champions Cork City at Turners Cross on Friday night.
The mood at the club appears to be at an all-time low with rumours of winding up orders and unpaid wages circulating once more on Shannonside. Unfortunately, those headlines have been all too common this season. Hopefully, this squad can overcome the adversity which everyone at the club has been subjected to this season and pull out two big performances. There is no doubt that the current squad will give it everything due to personal pride alone but supporters will be extremely worried about the future of the club even if they were to survive relegation.
Manager Tommy Barrett has intimated in recent weeks that the final game of the season at Waterford may feature a lot of young fringe players as the playoff begins just three days later. Key players such as Shane Duggan, Cian Coleman, Conor Ellis and Killian Brouder are unlikely to be risked. Therefore, it is the last opportunity for the first choice players to pick up a much-needed confidence booster ahead of the playoff tie.
Limerick have faced manager-less St. Pats on three occasions this season but have been on the end of defeats in all three games. All three meetings were decided by 1 goal with two 1-0 defeats. The Shannonsiders will take encouragement from the last match at Inchicore. Limerick led for a large spell through a Billy Dennehy but conceded two late goals to leave Dublin with nothing. The likes of Darren Murphy and Shane Duggan put in impressive shifts on the night while wingers Karl O’Sullivan and Will Fitzgerald could have extended the visitors lead as they caused a lot of problems. Barrett will be hoping for more of the same with a clinical edge on Friday night.
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