As the curtain fell on another season for Limerick FC, the much anticipated anti-climax came to pass as Limerick finished fourth despite a fantastic performance, beating Munster rivals Waterford United 3-0.
Sean Brosnan, Paddy Purcell and Denis Behan scored the goals to draw what has been a fantastic season for the Blues to a close; however the season will ultimately be seen as a failure in the eyes of the critics.
A crowd of almost a thousand punters embraced Jackman Park on Friday evening with just the slightest of hope that Limerick may snatch the playoff spot from under the noses of Monaghan United. It was not to be, as Monaghan won their game 5-0. Those in attendance were not left wanting however, as Limerick produced a fantastically entertaining display for the Limerick public to enjoy.
The first effort of the game from Limerick after just five minutes when Rory Gaffney mishit his cross which was intended for the far post. The resulting swerve almost caught out Kevin Burns in the United goal however; the ball just dropping over the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
Paudie Quinn, who has been somewhat of a sensation this year, was the first to test Burns in the Waterford goal. Optimistically setting up to shoot from twenty five yards, the ex-Fulham midfielder showed why he is so confident, making Burns stretch to tip his effort over the bar.
A long throw from Rory Gaffney almost caught Waterford napping, but luckily for them, captain Pat Purcell headed well wide after taking his eye off the ball for a split second. Limerick would only have to wait five more minutes for their opener.
The tireless effort of Rory Gaffney on the left wing was a joy to behold for those in attendance. One of his poorer crosses arrived on the half hour mark, as it seemed to fly over everyone. Thankfully for Limerick, young Sean Brosnan was on the back post to volley across goal into the far corner to put the home side into the lead. If Limerick are to hold onto him for the forthcoming season, he will a scorer of many goals one would imagine.
As much as Brosnan’s goal was a contender for goal of the season, Paude Quinn’s effort just past the thirty minute threshold would have grabbed the acclaim had it nestled into the bottom corner. Quinn struck it well from 30-yards but he saw his effort smash off the woodwork. Limerick threatened to have the tie settled by half time.
Waterford’s main threat in the second half came via the adventurous Gary Dunphy. The midfielder constantly stood over the dead ball opportunities and just five minutes into the second half, could have made a contender for goal of the year himself. With a long run up, Dunphy went to strike a free kick from all of 40-yards but Barry Ryan was just about level to the effort.
The second goal didn’t arrive until fifteen minutes from full time. From a corner facing the clubhouse end, Purcell rose highest in the box to head home from very close range. There was very little anyone could have done to stop him scoring.
The local lad Denis Behan finished off the scoring in stoppage time. A corner again was the source of the goal. After a scramble from Purcell to try get his brace, Behan forced the ball home from all of yard to ensure Limerick ended the season with eight wins out eight. A much deserved win for Limerick.
What can be certain is that if Limerick hold onto the majority of their current squad for next season, they may be the favourites for the league title. For the away side, a season they will certainly look to forget.
Limerick FC: Barry Ryan, Shaun Kelly, Paddy Purcell, Corie Treacy, John Frost, Rory Gaffney, Joe Gamble, Jeffrey Judge (Steven McGann 73), Paudie Quinn (Shane Tracy 71), Sean Brosnan (Stephen O’Flynn 62), Denis Behan.
Subs not Used: Shane Cusack, Brian McCarthy, David O’Leary, Peter Hynes.
Waterford United: Kevin Burns, John Hayes (Dwayne Wilson 45), Michael Coady, Paul Carey, David Breen, Paul Walsh (Jason Keane 82), Paul Phelan, Seamus Long, Gary Dunphy, Sean Maguire, Gary Keane (Jack Doherty 71).
Subs not Used: Thomas Whitty, Sean Whitty, Aidan McGrath, Kenny Browne.
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Paudie Quinn.