A weakened Limerick FC crashed out of the FAI Cup last night as Shelbourne beat them 4-3 in a thrilling contest in Tolka Park.
Without the suspended Joe Gamble and Jeffrey Judge, this quarter-final clash proved a bridge too far for Pat Scully’s side who now must turn their focus to their remaining three games in the Airtricity League.
Limerick endured a terrible opening half, and were 3-0 down just after half time. However they fought back brilliantly and sub Barry Sheedy struck two goals in the last quarter of an hour to drag his side back into contention, his second coming a minute from time.
It wasn’t enough though as Shels withstood three minutes of injury time to book a semi-final spot against St Pat’s. Limerick will point to a disallowed goal in the 63rd minute as a crucial moment as referee Ritchie Winter ruled out what looked a perfectly good goal by Denis Behan.
Shelbourne’s title bid had taken a knock on Friday when they lost to Roddy Collins’ Monaghan Utd but they were up for this from the start and took the lead when Philip Hughes found the net in the 19th minute.
Things got worse for Pat Scully’s side on 27 minutes when Andrew Bhandarkar turned the ball past Barry Ryan for an own goal.
Shels extended their lead a minute in to the second half when Hughes got his second but, against the run of play, Limerick were thrown a lifeline when John Frost goaled.
After Behan’s effort was disallowed, Hughes completed his hat-trick with quarter of an hour remaining. Yet Limerick refused to give up and two goals from Sheedy dragged them right back into contention only for time to eventually run out on their brave revival.
Limerick will have one eye on tonight’s Airtricity League Division 1 match between fellow promotion rivals Monaghan Utd and Cork City in Turner’s Cross. Limerick are tied with Cork on 57 points, with Monaghan on 58. Shelbourne are top on 62 but all three are again in action on Friday night as they catch up on their games in hand.
Limerick’s next game is at home to Athlone on Friday week.
LIMERICK FC - Barry Ryan; Brian McCarthy, John Frost, Garvan Broughall, Andrew Bhandarkar; Shane Tracy, Padraic Quinn, David O’Leary; Peter Hynes, Denis Behan, Garbhan Coughlan. Subs: Stephen McGann for Coughlan (55 mins), Barry Sheedy for Hynes (61 mins), and Stephen O’Flynn for Broughall (69 mins)
SHELBOURNE - Paul Skinner; Gareth Matthews, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Barry Clancy, Andrew Boyle; John Sullivan, Brendan McGill, Kevin Dawson, David Cassidy; Philip Hughes, Karl Bermingham