Limerick welcome UCD to Market's Field on Saturday evening aiming to extend their lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League First Division to 17 points. Kick-off, 6:30pm.
After dropping their first league points at home against Drogheda United before the mid-season break, Martin Russell's side bounced back to winning ways last weekend when they defeated Cabinteely 2-0 at Stradbrook. Speaking about the game to limerickfc.ie, Russell explained that several young players gained experience against Cabo.
“On reflection, all things considered, first of all you’re pleased to come out with the win and we extended our lead which is good.
“Also considering that at the end of the game on the pitch altogether we had Ross Mann (20), Shane Costelloe (20), Seán McSweeney (18), Tony Whitehead (20) and Paudie O’Connor (18) – quite a young group of players. So there were positives in the win, getting the young players some experience.
“It was a great goal from Seán," Russell continued. "Anybody that was there to see it, it was one to treasure. It was a great finish; it’s something that Seán is capable of. He’s a highly technical player and has done those types of things regular enough.
“All we can do, as we’ve said all along, is take each game on its merits and try to win each one. Hopefully what will happen is the table will reflect our performances.”
Despite having beaten UCD on two occasions this season, 4-1 on the opening weekend and 2-1 at Belfield in April, the Blues boss is expecting “a stern test” against the Students.
“UCD are always competitive,” Russell told limerickfc.ie. “They will always give you a stern test as they have done particularly in our recent away game there. We’re fully aware of the threat they pose but again we have to focus on trying to play to levels that can get us a win.
“We keep on saying this. We cannot underestimate how important it is that everybody tries to make the club as strong as possible. The crowds that have come out, hopefully we’ve entertained them. The ones who have come to support us have been great and we want to try to grow that fan base if at all possible.”
Limerick will once again be without the services of long term injury Seamus Sharkey while Aaron Greene, Garbhan Coughlan and captain Shane Duggan also miss out.
The Students make the trip to Limerick in search of their fifth straight league victory and will be bolstered with the confidence of returning from the mid-season break with a 2-1 away win against promotion rivals Drogheda United last week.
Despite the recent blip in form for UCD where many people expected them to fall away from the play-offs, Collie O’Neill’s side have regrouped and under the playing leadership of Gary O’Neill have produced some big performances against the like of Shelbourne, Cobh Ramblers and Drogs.
The Louth outfit are at present the only side to take points off Limerick this season and they defeated Waterford United on Friday night. This has seen the Students slip down to third place in the table, but victory on Shannonside would see them regain second spot.
In seven away games this season, UCD have recorded four away wins, one draw and have been beaten twice, in Markets Field's against Limerick and in the RSC against Waterford.
Referee: Kevin O’Regan.
Limerick have scored 54 goals in 14 games, 30 goals have come at home while 24 goals have come on the road.
UCD have scored 22 goals in 14 games, 12 goals coming at home while they have scored only 10 goals in seven away games.
John O’Flynn is Limerick’s top scorer this season with 11 league goals while Gary O’Neill is UCD’s top scorer with six goals.
Limerick 1/4; Draw 4/1; UCD 9/1.
Limerick 1-1 UCD .
Injured: Seamus Sharkey, Aaron Greene, Shane Duggan, Garbhan Coughlan.