Tom Clancy reports from the Market's Field
St Patrick’s Athletic rarely broke sweat as they completed a quartet of wins over a disappointing Limerick side in 2018 in the Blues' final home game of the season.
Goals from Kevin Toner, Jake Keegan, Simon Madden and an own goal from Jack Brady saw off a Limerick side who badly could have done with a positive performance ahead of their two-legged play-off with Finn Harps.
Saints interim boss Ger O’Brien will be pleased that his side didn’t have to work too hard to break the deadlock as the game burst to life after ten minutes.
James Doona forced a smart save from Jack Brady and the resulting corner saw Lee Desmond crash a header off the bar before Toner finished left-footed from all of seven yards.
The game was effectively over when Keegan tapped home from a yard after Ian Bermingham squared the ball back from the right-hand side.
The American capitalised on Colman Kennedy’s misjudgement of a long ball to put the Saints in firm control.
Keegan almost grabbed his second four minutes before the break but was denied brilliantly at point blank range by Brady, after a swift counter attack involving Madden and Conan Byrne.
The third goal arrived in calamitous style, minutes after the interval. Colman Kennedy played a pass to his keeper from a tight angle but Brady miscontrolled and it rolled beneath his foot into the net.
It was 4-0 moments later, when Madden raided forward and finished first time off the post with his weaker left foot. Limerick showed all the signs of a side drained of confidence.
James Doona twice hit the woodwork as the hosts struggled to contain their more experienced hosts. He was impressive throughout and constantly looked a danger on the left-hand side.
The 70th minute saw a rare Limerick attack, when Billy Dennehy forced the easiest of saves from former teammate Brendan Clarke.
The fulltime whistle wasn’t greeted with much joy or sorrow, the result inevitable from the outset for the estimated 300 in attendance.
The Saints are still trying to seal a top five finish while Limerick need to find some positive form with the play-off in clear view.
With just two league goals since the end of July and just one clean sheet, there are problems at both ends of the pitch.
Limerick: Jack Brady; Shaun Kelly (Aaron Fitzgerald 66), Tomas O’Connor, Colman Kennedy, Shane Tracy; Karl O’Sullivan, Darren Murphy, Shane Duggan, Barry Maguire (Adam Foley 77), Billy Dennehy; Danny Morrissey (Connor Ellis 56).
Subs not used: Tommy Holland (gk), Colm Walsh O’Loghlen, Adam Foley, Ger Barry.
Booked: Shaun Kelly (23).
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Simon Madden, Joe Manley (Killian Brennan 46), Kevin Toner, Ian Bermingham; Lee Desmond , Conor Clifford (Ryan Brennan 66), Darragh Markey; Conan Byrne, Jake Keegan (Achille Campion 71), James Donna.
Subs not used: Barry Muphy (gk), Michael Barker, Ian Turner, Dean Clarke.
Referee: John McLoughlin.
Attendance: 300 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: James Doona (St. Patricks Athletic).