Limerick comfortably advanced to the Third Round of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup with a 5-2 victory over Leinster Senior League side Bluebell United. A hat-trick from the evergreen John O’Flynn as well as a wonderful assist for a Chris Mulhall. Seán Byrne and Toyeeb Mustapha struck late consolations for the Dublin side. Paul O’Conor added gloss in stoppage time for Martin Russell’s men.
After a dominant opening spell, Mulhall finished off a fine move after winger Kenny found the feet of O’Flynn, who, with his back to goal, rolled the ball to Mulhall who made no mistroked home with his left-foot.
Limerick looked near certain to net a second goal when Mulhall was felled by former Shamrock Rovers midfielder Robert Bayly. Shane Tracy stepped up only to bring an excellent save from Andy McNulty.
The second goal and arguably the clinching effort came from the spot. Referee Kevin O’Regan, with the aid of his assistant referee Dermot Broughton didn’t hesitate in awarding a second penalty to the Super Blues as Kelly was pushed in the back when advancing towards goal. John O’Flynn made no mistake and doubled his sides lead.
O’Flynn added his second and Limerick’s third on 51 minutes, heading home a Shaun Kelly cross with class. He was offered the opportunity for a hat-trick soon after.
Another foul from Bayly, this time on Kelly gave O’Flynn another opportunity from 12 yards. He send McNulty the wrong way once more and Limerick led by four. That was to be his final act before being replaced by Jordan Moore.
The visitors didn’t give up entirely, despite the clear gulf in class. Their substitutes had an impact, with Seán Byrne capitalising on poor Limerick defending and firing past Tommy Holland. Their next opening came from Toyeeb Mustapha, who at the second attempt, reduced the deficit further.
Mustapha, a winger with outrageous pace, almost made it 4-3 with the clock ticking down. He hit the bar after cutting in from the right wing.
There was time for one more goal, a Paul O’Conor tap in after great combination from Moore and Mulhall.
Limerick was deserving winners, but fixture congestion for Bluebell appears to have hampered their chances of an upset.
Limerick: Tommy Holland; Shaun Kelly (Tony Whitehead 58), Paudie O’Connor, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy; Paul O’Conor, Lee-J Lynch, Seán Russell (Colm Murphy 69); Stephen Kenny, Chris Mulhall, John O’Flynn (Jordan Moore 56).
Subs not Used: Freddy Hall (gk), Shane Costelloe, Ross Mann.
Bluebell United: Andy McNulty; Seán Glesson, Gilmar Mandiangu, Dean Laurence, Karl Russell (Séan Byrne); Peter Darcy, Keith Quinn, Robert Bayly, Glenn Keddy, Tony Griffith© (Toyeeb Mustapha 58); Graham Zambra (Barry Slattery 58).
Subs not Used: Jordan Keegan, Andy Noonan, Keith Foy, Mark Rooney.
Booked: Bayly (45)
Referee: Kevin O’Regan (Kerry)