Struggling Limerick will take on the challenge of Drogheda United in this encounter in the SSE Airtricity First Division at the Market’s Field on Friday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
Tommy Barrett’s boys in blue will be hoping that they can put aside their disappointing start to the season by picking up all three points at home and register their first win of the campaign.
The Super Blues came up against red-hot promotion favourites Bray Wanderers last Friday night at the Carlisle Grounds and were comfortably dispatched 2-0. Limerick showed plenty of spirit and endeavour in the first-half and had a glorious chance to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty 10 minutes before half-time but Conor Ellis’ saw his spot kick saved by Bray keeper Gabriel Sava.
The missed penalty proved to be costly when Joe Doyle rose to head The Seagulls in front two minutes from the break. Limerick tried in vain to create chances but the sting was taken out of their challenge when Paul Keegan unleashed an unstoppable screamer from 25 yards shortly after the resumption and despite creating some chances a miraculous comeback was never really on the cards.
This was the second consecutive game in which the Super Blues failed to find the back of the net having drawn 0-0 in their opening fixture against Longford Town at the Market’s Field and it is a worry for manager Tommy Barrett going into this crucial home match.
Limerick manager Barrett has almost a fully fit squad from which to select from with the exception of doubts over Killian Brouder and Shane Tracy who face late fitness tests. Limerick have no suspensions for this week.
The Drogs make the long journey to the Mid-West in an attempt to stop the rot by taking the spoils back with them to the Wee County.
Drogheda United found themselves dumped out of the Leinster Senior Cup at the first hurdle at United Park last Monday night at the hands of Cabinteely. It was a closely fought contest which was settled by a Luke Clucas goal with 19 minutes remaining.
It was a wretched few days for The Drogs who were hammered 3-0 by unbeaten Longford Town at the City Calling Stadium last Friday night. Drogheda gave a good account of themselves in the first half and more than matched their hosts until Dean Byrne broke the deadlock just after the hour and Aaron Dobbs made sure of the points with De Town’s second goal after 83 minutes. Peter Hopkins put the icing on the cake with a third goal in injury time.
The Drogs manager Tim Clancy felt his side were below par and couldn’t argue with the result telling www.droghedaunited.ie, “We weren’t at it; we didn’t deserve anything out of the game. The positives to take out of it was, even though we didn’t play well at all, we still had four or five really good chances to take the lead in the first half.”
Drogheda had made the perfect start to the season with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Cobh Ramblers at United Park in their opening game thanks to a brace from Mark Doyle and further goals from Chris Lyons and Adam Wixted.
Drogs boss Clancy is not taking their opponents likely and is expecting a difficult challenge from Limerick telling www.droghedaunited.ie, “Having got a result down there against Longford, it shows that’s going to be a tough place to go. They’ll be itching to get their first win so it’s going to be a very difficult game and we certainly have to perform better than we did against Longford. A few of the lads probably feel like they owe a better performance as well. All round, I’m expecting a tough game but one that we are going to go into with confidence.”
Drogheda boss Clancy will still be without the services of midfielder Jake Hyland who is still recovering from a broken leg but received a boost during the week with the return of winger Janabi Amour and centre-back Kevin Farragher from injury and will be available for selection. The Drogs have no suspensions for this week.
Referee: Andrew Mullally
Limerick and Drogheda United last met each other in the 2017 season with The Super Blues dominating the fixture with three wins from three; 3-0 at the Market’s Field, 2-0 at the United Park and 1-0 in the final game in Limerick.
The Super Blues and The Drogs have met each other 16 times in all competitions since 2013 with Limerick having the marginal better record winning 7 times to Drogheda’s 6 wins with 3 draws.
Limerick scored 28 goals in their 16 matches averaging 1.75 per game with Drogheda United scoring 21 goals averaging 1.31 per game.
Limerick are currently in 8th place in the SSE Airtricity First Division on 1 point with 1 draw and 1 defeat.
Drogheda United are currently in 5th place in the SSE Airtricity First Division on 3 points with 1 win and 1 defeat.
Limerick 12/5 Draw 23/10 Drogheda United 10/11
Limerick 1-2 Drogheda United
Injured: Not Available
Doubtful: ShaneTracy, Killian Brouder
Injured: Jake Hyland