Limerick made their return to the Premier Division in impressive fashion on Friday night with a 5-1 victory over Sligo Rovers at the Markets Field.
A Rodrigo Tosi hat-trick was the highlight of the night as the Brazilian striker was in remarkable form on his League of Ireland debut, while Ian Turner and Lee-J Lynch also scored.
Ian Turner became the first goalscorer of the 2017 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division but that was only the beginning for a rampant Limerick.
Sligo goalkeeper Micheal Schlingermann palmed it straight to Ian Turner who tapped home for the opening goal of the game.
Turner’s limelight was soon overshadowed by new signing Tosi. Tosi, who only received international clearance early this morning to play, added two goals in the space of ten minutes to bring the passionate home crowd to their feet.
Martin Russell’s side did not take their foot off the pedal and nearly added a fourth before half-time when Turner’s cross was deflected over the bar for a corner.
Sligo Rovers boss Dave Robertson made two changes at half time and changed their shape which resulted in a minor resurgent for the visitors.
It was Limerick though that had the first notable chance of the second half as Dean Clarke crossed to the back post after he easily turned Adebayo-Rowling and Turner narrowly headed wide.
On the hour mark, it was the visitors who pulled one back as substitute Matthew Stevens latched onto a rebound after Freddy Hall spilled a close range shot from Kieran Sadlier.
Sligo’s luck didn’t last long as Limerick added a fourth goal in the 67th minute as the Brazilian debutant got his hat-trick, tapping in the rebound after a superb save from Schlingermann.
The action-packed game continued to entertain the home crowd as Limerick were awarded a penalty with 15 minutes remaining, after man of the match Tosi was brought down in the penalty area.
A poor penalty was easily caught by Schlingermann as Ian Turner hit the ball straight down the middle of the goal.
It got worse for the visitors, as Lynch added a fifth for the Super Blues when he lobbed Schlingermann from outside of the area.
A memorable win and return to the Premier Division for Martin Russell’s side but a lot of questions must be asked of Dave Robertson’s side who seemed to lack urgency and energy, especially in the final third.
Limerick: Freddy Hall; Shaun Kelly, Robbie Williams, Tony Whitehead, Tommy Robson; Shane Duggan, Lee J Lynch, Bastien Hery (Paul O Conor 85); Dean Clarke (Chiedozie Ogbene 70), Rodrigo Tosi (Chris Mulhall 77), Ian Turner.
Subs not used: Brendan Clarke, Barry Cotter, Stephen Kenny, Garbhan Coughlan.
Booked: Shane Duggan (24).
Sligo Rovers: Micheal Schlingermann; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Gary Boylan, Mick Leahy (Kyle Callan-McFadden 46), Regan Donelon; Craig Roddan, Chris Kenny (Mathew Stevens 46); Daniel Kearns, John Russell, Raffaelle Cretaro (Jonah Ayunga 84); Kieran Sadlier.
Subs not used: Jack Keaney, Mikey Place, John Mahon, Shaun Patton.
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Rodrigo Tosi (Limerick FC).