Unbeaten in their three games at the Markets Field this season, Limerick are looking jump above Shamrock Rovers in the early season table with a win on Bank Holiday Monday when the Hoops come Shannonside (kick off 6.30pm).
Last time out, they drew 1-1 at home to the champions Cork City which was a creditable point particularly as the Blues were missing a number of key players due to injury, before losing Daniel Kearns at half time and Danny Morrissey mid-way through the second half.
“The mood is good,” said Barrett after the game against Cork City when speaking to LimerickFC.ie ahead of Monday’s match. “It was a good performance and a decent result.
“We’re just assessing injuries at the moment – we’re a bit depleted. We have a lot of lads that are struggling. We’ll probably be a young side on Monday, but we’ll go into the game as enthusiastic as we can be.
“It’s important for the lads to get game-time, and experience as well. We’ll have younger lads in the squad on the bench too – it’s important for them to experience the atmosphere of a big game.
“Shamrock Rovers are very strong. They’re stronger than they were last year. They’re a good attacking threat and they have been very solid defensively this year as well. They have added to their squad, so whoever they put out it will be a difficult test for us.
“It will be tough to go again, because we wouldn’t have the squads that Cork and Rovers have. Any of those periods where we have three games in a week are tough for us, because we’re a bit lighter than those squads.”
Barrett deployed former Shamrock Rovers player Billy Dennehy at left back against City (with Dennehy scoring Limerick’s goal) and Killian Cantwell in midfield. The Blues are still without striker Mark O’Sullivan due to a hand injury.
The Hoops are looking for their first points away from home this season when they travel to Limerick. The losses away from Tallaght to Bohs and Cork City have been counterbalanced by their excellent home form – three wins and a draw, scoring 13 and conceding just one goal.
The game in Limerick is the middle match in a trio of games in Munster for Rovers which started with a 1-0 loss to Cork City last Monday and ends next Friday in Waterford.
It was a hard fought Dublin derby win for the Hoops on Friday night when they overcame St. Patrick’s Athletic 1-0 in Tallaght.
"It was a good result [against St. Pat's] and I thought we deserved it,” said Bradley speaking to shamrockrovers.ie. “The pressure told in the end. They wanted to sit in and make it frustrating. That's the game they made it, to come for a draw but watching it back we had some really good passages of play and we opened them up a few times.
“I think we all were [desperate for the win], you got that sense around the ground, the players, the fans and everyone. It was one of those. We knew we didn't do enough against them last year (losing twice and drawing once) and we wanted to try and put that right in Tallaght and thankfully we did that.”
The Hoops have hit both Bray and Derry City for six in home games, while Limerick have suffered two heavy away defeats (8-0 to Dundalk and 5-0 to Derry City).
“Limerick have had one or two bad games but overall they've been good. They had a good result against Cork the other night and by all accounts they could have won it. They're obviously doing well and doing something right so we need to fully respect that and make sure we're ready for a tough game down there.”
The pitch may add to that difficulty, with the surface subjected to more snow over the weekend. “The pitch has been poor all season, we know that because we've had them watched a few times.
“Whatever the game throws up, whether it's a football game or a second ball game, we've just got to be ready for it and go and win the game,” said the Hoops Head Coach who has a full squad to chose from for the game.
Bradley brought back in Canadian ‘keeper Tomer Chencinski for the win over St. Pat’s and after that clean sheet he is expected to continue in goal. “Kevin Horgan has done well,” said Bradley about the Galwegian who started Rovers first five league games before last Friday.
“It was just a case of that it was time for a change and to give Tomer Chencinski his chance. I thought he did well, there were a few crosses where he had to come and be brave."
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Tommy Barrett played ten games for Shamrock Rovers during the 2007 season under manager Pat Scully, either side of playing spells with Limerick. Stephen Bradley played for two seasons with Limerick when Scully managed the Blues to the 2012 First Division title.
Limerick have lost four and drawn one of the five most recent matches between the sides. The point they earned was at Tallaght Stadium last year when Rodrigo Tosi scored a late goal on a night when Rovers tried to sit on a 1-0 lead for most of the second half. Limerick lost 2-0 to the Hoops the last time the teams met in Markets Field with Dave McAllister and Ronan Finn scoring the goals.
The Hoops are looking to avoid a run of four straight defeats in the league away from home.
Limerick 24/5; Draw 11/4; Shamrock Rovers 1/2.
1-0 away win.
Injured: Eoin Wearen (groin), Barry Maguire (ankle), Mark O’Sullivan (hand)
Doubtful: Daniel Kearns (quad) and Danny Morrissey (groin).
Limerick FC are aware of the financial strain on our supporters, in particular families over this Saint Patrick's weekend. The club have decided to keep matchnight prices in line with our online rates for Monday's fixture.— Limerick FC (@LimerickFCie) March 18, 2018
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