Limerick safely negotiated their way past Premier Division strugglers Cork City to secure their place in the last eight of the EA Sports Cup at Jackman Park on Easter Monday. Goals from debutant Cian Collins, Sean Brosnan and a last minute strike from Dave O’Leary earned the Shannonsiders a comfortable win over a disappointing Cork side.
These neighbouring sides will meet again at the same venue in four weeks time for the Munster Senior Cup final but six weeks into their respective campaigns, Limerick are the ones that look in finer fettle.
Cork, without a win in the top tier after going up as champions last season, have been dreadful at times to date in 2012 and this was perhaps their worst performance yet, devoid of attacking threat Collins was just 30 seconds into his senior career with Limerick when he broke the deadlock after racing past a high Cork line and slotting the ball under a helpless Kevin Burns.
It was the perfect start for the home team but Cork’s response was so feeble, the game always felt a level below league pace.
Limerick controlled the game from midfield, Joe Gamble a level above Colin Healy in the battle of former Irish internationals, while City’s Vinny Sullivan was left isolated up top too often.
City rarely threatened Dave Ryan in between the posts for the Blues, with Brosnan and Rory Gaffney both going close to extending the lead before the interval.
The home side made it 2-0 seven minutes into the second half though. Brosnan picked the ball up about 25 yards from goal and made a big stride forward before driving the ball past Burns and into the roof of the net. Once again, the Cork defence was static.
Sullivan and Ian Turner both had decent opportunities from range, the former flashing just wide while Ryan did well to punch the latter’s punt over the bar, but apart from that Cork never looked like hitting halving the deficit.
And it got a whole lot worse when one of Limerick’s Cork-born players, Dave O’Leary, nodded home in added time to add further gloss to a very convincing win for the home side.
Limerick: Dave Ryan; Shane Guthrie, Shaun Kelly, Corie Tracy; Stephen Bradley (Dave O’Leary 69), Rory Gaffney, Joe Gamble, Shane Tracy; Sean Brosnan (Barry Sheedy 64), Cian Collins (Denis Behan 35), Garbhan Coughlan.
Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Stephen McGann, Brian O’Callaghan, Pat Purcell.
Cork City: Kevin Burns; John Dunleavy, Dan Murray, Gavin Kavanagh, Danny Murphy; Ian Turner, Cathal Lordan, Colin Healy (Davin O’Neill 73), Shane O’Connor, Jamie Murphy (Shane Duggan 64); Vinny Sullivan (Tadhg Purcell 73).
Subs not used: Gearóid Morrissey, Mark McNulty, Kalen Spillane, Daryl Horgan.
Referee: Jim McKell.
Attendance: 300 (estimate)
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Sean Brosnan (Limerick FC).