Limerick’s resurgence continued on Friday night as they pulled Drogheda United well and truly into the mire with a comprehensive 4-1 at United Park on Friday night.
Martin Russell’s side look set to pull off what seemed impossible just six weeks ago. They made the perfect start on Friday against a Drogheda side who had former Irish International Keith Treacy making his debut. Treacy hadn’t played a competitive game since December and McDonnell surprised many with his inclusion after saying he was a few weeks off full fitness.
He demonstrated early on why he was selected when he forced a save from Freddy Hall two minutes into the game.
With just five minutes played Limerick were in front, Vinny Faherty’s fifth goal in five games putting the visitors into the lead. From a corner the Drogheda defence went to sleep and allowed Faherty race clear unchallenged and head home.
Things went from bad to worse for Drogheda as the visitors were awarded a very soft penalty on the ten minute mark. An apparent foul on Robbie Williams, referee Jim McKell signalling there was holding, resulted in a spot kick which Ian Turner converted.
Then three minutes later another defensive lapse saw Ian Turner race down the right wing and whip in a ball to the back post where Darragh Rainsford headed well past Schlingermann. Lims had further chances to increase their lead, Sean Russell going closest to putting The Blues 4-0 ahead.
A shell shocked Drogheda struggled to fight back, Tiarnan Mulvenna forced a save from Freddy Hall midway through the half. They were handed a lifeline when Treacy picked out Lee Duffy and the hard working striker turned and shot but his effort was blocked down only for Mulvenna to follow up and power the ball home.
The Boynesiders almost closed the gap to a single goal as they laid siege to the Lims goal. Hall got down bravely to deny both Sean Thornton and Mulvenna but then at the other end Martin Rusell’s men proved to be more clinical and added a fourth.
Having seen Shane Tracy hit the crossbar from a free kick, Turner once again proved decisive as he delivered for Robbie Williams to head past the Drogheda keeper.
Johnny McDonnell sent his charges out early for the second-half and the move looked to have paid off as they started well, forcing two early corners which came to nothing. Treacy actually hit the post with his in-swinger from the right.
In the 55th minute Alan Byrne bundled the ball over the line only for the goal to be disallowed for offside. Robert O’Reilly then had a header cleared off the line, Drogheda were very much on top but vulnerable at the back when Limerick countered.
Once Treacy was removed Drogheda’s control seemed to slip and Limerick had several good chances to add to their lead. The win for Lims brings them to within four points of Drogheda and getting out of the relegation zone while McDonnell’s side could find themselves in the bottom two should Sligo win tomorrow.
Drogheda United: Michael Schlingermann, Joe Gorman, Alan Byrne, Robert O’Reilly, Michael Daly; Jason Marks, Stephen Maher (Adam Whelan 71), Sean Thornton, Keith Treacy (Mark Hughes 63); Tiarnan Mulvenna (Ger Pender 80), Lee Duffy
Subs Not Used: Evin Farrell, Lloyd Buckley, Sean Brennan, Bob McKenna
Yellow Cards: O'Reilly (18), Maher (44).
Limerick: Freddy Hall, Shaun Kelly, Patrick Kanyuka, Robbie Williams, Paul O'Conor; Shane Tracy, Ian Turner, Lee-J Lynch, Russell (Dean Whitehead 85), Darragh Rainsford (Val Feeney 72), Vinny Faherty
Subs Not Used: Tommy Holland, Dean Clarke, Shane Costello, Paudie O’Connor, Cyril Guedje.
Yellow Cards: Lynch (58).
Referee: Jim McKell.