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The first Munster derby of the season ended in stalemate as Limerick and Cork City played out an entertaining scoreless draw at Thomond Park on Sunday evening.
Newly promoted Limerick gave a good account of themselves in front of a three-and-a-half thousand strong crowd on Shannonside but nobody could begrudge City a point from this encounter.
The game began at a high tempo and it wasn't long before Limerick carved an opportunity. A measured cross from Robbie Williams found Craig Curran who controlled the ball well but fired his effort over Mark McNulty's bar.
Fifteen minutes in, Danny Galbraith won a race to the ball ahead of Cork 'keeper McNulty who found himself in no-mans-land. Galbraith turned in and out before eventually conceding possession to McNulty. A let-off for the visitors.
The best chance of the first half arose just after the twenty minute mark when Brian O'Callaghan's miscontrol allowed Daryl Horgan to go one-on-one with Ryan. Horgan was denied by an excellent reach from the league veteran although the Cork winger will feel he should have put the Leesiders one-nil up.
City should really have taken the lead moments later as another piece of poor footwork from O'Callaghan allowed Kevin Murray in on goal but the centre half's effort was tame and Ryan was on hand to smother.
The “Daryl factor” looked at times like it would prove to be Cork's best hope of snatching a goal; Horgan's direction with the ball was impressive while Kavanagh constantly found space in the channels without ever really imposing himself on the Limerick defence.
Some questionable goalkeeping from McNulty almost gave Limerick a lead going into the break as a corner came in from the right. The City stopper came to deal with the cross but misjudged the flight and ex-Cork defender O'Callaghan headed wide of goal.
Galbraith weaved his magic once more down the right to find Craig Curran lurking in the centre. The Liverpudlian managed to glance a header towards goal, but the ball fell inches wide of the far post much to the disappointment of the majority in attendance.
In a game that lacked goals, it certainly didn't lack football ability with both sides aiming to keep the ball down and pass it out from the back. Neither side should struggle based on their performances today.
Limerick's best chance of the night arrived courtesy of that man Galbraith. His jinking run down the right flank found David O'Leary in the centre of the box, but his header was too high and it looped just over the crossbar.
Stephen Bradley almost had an immediate impact as he linked up well with Craig Curran. The former Tranmere striker played a clever ball inside the full-back and Bradley found himself in an advanced position but his cross was poor and resulted in Cork stealing possession.
A series of half chances ensued as efforts from both Bossekota and Tracy scared the City defence before a weak header from Stephen Bradley was gathered by McNulty in the Cork goal. Limerick were well and truly on top at this stage.
Cork could have stolen the win only a few moments later after a Denis Behan flick-on found the run of Limerick native Shane Duggan, but his left footed drive didn't have enough to beat Barry Ryan from twelve yards.
The game filtered out towards the end but the departing crowd can be happy that their side, whether it be Cork or Limerick, should do reasonably well in the Premier Division this season after solid displays from both.
Limerick FC: Barry Ryan; Patrick Nzuzi, Brian O'Callaghan (Stephen Bradley 66), Stephen Folan, Robbie Williams; Joe Gamble, David O'Leary, Shane Tracy; Axel Bossekota, Craig Curran (Darragh Rainsford), Danny Galbraith.
Subs not Used: Shane Cusack, Steven McGann, Shane Costelloe, Barry Sheedy.
Bookings: Joe Gamble, Patrick Nzuzi.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Neal Horgan, Dan Murray, Kevin Murray, Danny Murphy; Daryl Horgan (Adam Rundle), Shane Duggan, Colin Healy, Gearoid Morrissey, Ian Turner (Danny Morrissey 63); Daryl Kavanagh (Denis Behan 63).
Subs not Used: Kevin Burns, Garry Buckley, John Dunleavy, Danny Furlong.
Bookings: Danny Murphy, Dan Murray.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Danny Galbraith (Limerick FC).