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Airtricity League First Division

November 7, 2018

A solid Limerick performance saw them overcome Munster rivals Waterford United in a tense encounter on Shannonside. Captain Paddy Purcell’s well-guided header was enough to see Lims prevail with all three points.

In a game that started brightly, the visitors had the first real guilt edged opportunity. Paul Murphy got through through one-on-one. But his effort fell wide of the post. Waterford would regret that spurned chance, as they were few and far between.

In the 17th minute, as Jeffrey Judge found a great ball to pick out Tracy, but his effort was smothered by the out-rushing Kevin Burns at the near post.

Waterford did little wrong in truth, disorganisation from set pieces probably being their only weakness. And it was this very flaw that led to the only goal of the game. A fantastically lofted Shane Tracy ball found Purcell towering above everyone at the back post. Straining the neck muscles, he managed to direct the ball out of reach of Burns in the Waterford goal.

Being a Munster derby it was no surprise that the challenges were plentiful, strong and often mistimed. Michael Coady and David O’Leary were the ones in the referee’s book by the end of the first half, both producing rash challenges on opposition players.

The major talking point of the half arrived in stoppage time, just before the whistle. Sinnott took it quickly and short, finding Murphy whose thundering shot challenged Barry Ryan. On first view, it appeared that Ryan spilled the effort over the goal line. The referee flagged, but it was for a free-kick to Limerick had been awarded for a push on the net-minder and not a goal to the frustration of the away fans.

The first action of the second half led to O’Flynn finding himself with space out wide. He found Hynes at the back post and his knock down teed up Shane Tracy, whose effort was too weak to cause any real problems. Another scare for Waterford arrived moments later, as a fantastic Tracy cross managed somehow to evade everyone. The teasing cross was begging to be finished, but to no avail.

In a rare instance, John Frost was outpaced on the left wing, as Sinnott skipped passed him, to fire yet another excellent cross into the box but Ryan rushed out to claim it.

The chance of the second half came from another set piece. Tracy again swept in another marvellous delivery, landing perfectly on the head of O’Callaghan at the near post who forced Burns into a magnificent reflex save. It wasn’t over though, as the resulting corner yielded yet another opportunity. This time O’Flynn, in a very similar position, saw his header go just over.

On 65 minutes, the Waterford fans celebrated prematurely as a splendid Willie John Kiely header found the net, but the striker was judged to have pushed O’Callaghan in the process.

With fifteen minutes to go, it was still the home side showing all the ambition. Their constant pressure on their opponents has been a focal point in their good style of play this year. The introduction of Garbhan Coughlan added some pace up front. This was evident almost immediately as the youngster set up talisman O’Flynn was wayward.

A heroic performance from Judge was topped off with ten minutes to go as he ran all of forty yards down the right wing. His pinpoint cross found Coughlan, but the ball was cleared.

Waterford may well be worried about their lack of urgency, as they only really began to push with ten minutes to go. After some great interplay, Nolan was left at a tight angle but his effort well palmed away by Ryan.

While Limerick tried to keep the ball in the corner, it was right at the end when the biggest scare of all arrived. Gary Dunphy had charged down the right wing then played an excellent pass towards Kiely. However, his header floated wide of the goal moments before the full time whistle arrived.

A win for Limerick sees them only five points off the summit, and two points behind second-placed Cork.

Limerick FC: Barry Ryan, Corie Treacy, Pat Purcell, Brian O’Callaghan, John Frost, David O’Leary (Peter White 79), Jeffrey Judge, Padraic Quinn (Garbhan Coughlan 72), Shane Tracy, Stephen O’Flynn (Sean O’Connor 82), Peter Hynes.
Subs not used: Dave Ryan, Stephen McGann, Darren Coleman, Garvan Broughall.

Bookings: O’Leary (26), Treacy (71).
Sendings Off: None.

Waterford United: Keith Burns, Lee Chin (Gary Dunphy 77), Michael Coady, Keith Murray, Kenny Browne, David Breen, Shane Dempsey (Brian Nolan 54), Willie John Kiely, Paul Murphy, Gary Keane, Conor Sinnott (Dwayne Wilson 72).
Subs not used: Josh Byrne, Paul Carey, Seamus Long, Shane Barrett.

Bookings: Coady (32).
Sendings Off: None.

Referee: Kevin O’Regan.

Attendance: 422.

Match report from Andrew Cuneen@extratime.ie

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