Dave Donnelly reports from the Carlisle Grounds
Shane Duggan scored just Limerick's seventh goal of the season as they secured a vital three points away to Bray Wanderers on Friday night.
The captain forged a line through a mass of Bray defenders before, off-balance, poking his shot into the corner of the Seagulls' net for the game's only goal.
Remarkably, three of Limerick's goals this season have been in wins – two of them over Bray – while Danny Morrissey's late goal in Tallaght last week earned another vital point.
And this was three points well earned for Tommy Barrett's well-drilled Limerick, who rode their luck at times – not least as Kevin Lynch twice hit the bar – but were marginally the better side.
The sub-500 crowd at the Carlisle Grounds had to endure a turgid opening 40 minutes before the game suddenly – and unexpectedly – burst into action in the closing stages of the half.
Cory Galvin was the architect, the pacey winger's dash into the box from wide on the left drawing a foul from the disappointing Billy Dennehy, and referee Paul McLaughlin pointed to the spot.
Gary McCabe scored five times from the spot last season, including one in a 5-3 defeat to the Blues in Limerick, but the captain made a mess of his effort here.
McCabe leaned back and struck his penalty clean over the bar and into the car park behind the north-facing goal.
Limerick wasted no time getting play back underway, but perhaps they should have as Bray returned emboldened and Conor Clifford gave away a cheap free for a foul on Rónán Coughlan.
It was a left-footer's free and Kevin Lynch has one of the best left boots in the league, as he proved with a strike that was bound for the top corner before Brendan Clarke tipped it onto the bar.
Limerick still had time to trouble the goal at the other end as Shaun Kelly cut in on his left foot and placed a cross between the centre-halves for Morrissey, but he couldn't keep his volley down.
The Blues had the better of the play in the first half and that continued after the break, when Duggan broke the deadlock with just six minutes elapsed in the second half.
Winger Will Fitzgerald – who had the measure of Bray full-back Daniel McKenna all night – took a quick long-throw to Duggan, who writhed around before finding the corner.
Bray worked their way back into it, and were unfortunate not to level when Killian Brouder turned Lynch's cross towards his own goal but Clarke was again alert to make the save.
Lynch looked certain to level in the closing minutes as Limerick failed to deal with a corner but his strike from inside the box cracked off the top of the bar once more.
Bray had one last roll of the dice in injury time as Lynch's corner found the head of Hugh Douglas, but the defender sent the ball wide of Clarke's right-hand post.
Bray Wanderers: Aaron Dillon; Dan McKenna, Conor Kenna, Hugh Douglas, Kevin Lynch; Paul O'Conor, Rhys Gorman (Ger Pender 63), Gary McCabe; Daniel Kelly (Sean Heaney 88), Cory Galvin, Ronan Coughlan.
Subs not used: Evan Moran (gk), Dylan Hayes, Calvin Rogers, Andrew McGovern.
Booked: Kevin Lynch (90+1).
Limerick: Brendan Clarke; Shaun Kelly (Tony Whitehead 46), Killian Cantwell, Killian Brouder, Shane Tracy (Colm Walsh O'Loughlen 71); Conor Clifford (Barry Maguire 80), Shane Duggan, Eoin Wearen, Billy Dennehy, William Fitzgerald; Danny Morrissey.
Subs not used: Tommy Holland (gk), Henry Cameron, Adam Foley, Mark O'Sullivan.
Booked: Eoin Wearen (29), Conor Clifford (38).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Donegal).
Attendance: 470 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Conor Clifford (Limerick).