TWO early goals from Garbhan Coughlan helped Limerick FC record a stunning 3-1 win over Premier Division Bray Wanderers in their EA Sports Cup quarter-final at the Carlisle Grounds on Monday night.
The excellent Coughlan struck for two fine goals in the 12th and 15th minutes to help Pat Scully’s side build a significant early advantage against their shell-shocked hosts. Amd Garry Sheahan added a third in the 21st minute to effectively book the Blues passage into the semi-finals of the Cup.
Limerick have enjoyed an excellent record against Bray in recent times, with the Jackman Park side recording a whopping 4-0 win over the seasiders in last season’s FAI Cup.
Limerick FC, the only First Division side remaining in the competition, join Drogheda United in the last four of the Cup. The remaining semi-finalists will be decided tonight, Tuesday, when St Patrick’s Athletic face Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers host Derry City
Limerickman Coughlan got his first goal of the evening on 12 mins when flicking home with his heel from strike partner Rory Gaffney’s long throw.
Three minutes later Gaffney nodded down a long clearance into the path of former Crescent College Comprehensive student Coughlan who rifled a 25-yarder to the net for a stuning second.
Then, on 21 minutes the excellent David O’Leary played a sublime through ball for Garry Sheahan to run on to. The striker Sheahan kept his nerve superbly, dinking the ball past the Bray keeper and in off the butt of the far post. Two minutes later it might have been four when Sean Brosnan met Gaffney’s volleyed cross from the right, but the youngster’s header went narrowly wide.
Bray hit back through a Jason Byrne penalty on 55 mins after a handball by Shaun Kelly and the home side didd create some decent chances in the final quarter, but were unable to convert any of them.
Limerick might have snatched a fourth late on when O’Leary again split the home defence to set up Coughlan for a hat-trick attempt that Quigley parried, then Shane O’Connor headed off the line.
Coughlan’s night ended on a disappointing note when he was unfortunate to be sent off after picking up a second yellow card in added time.
BRAY WANDERERS - Darren Quigley; Dave Webster (Daire Doyle 66), Shane O’Connor, Adam Mitchell (Graham Kelly 75), Kevin Knight; Adam Hanlon (Jonathan Kelty 81), John Mulroy, Danny O’Connor,Dean Zambra, Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters; Jason Byrne.
LIMERICK FC - Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Shane Guthrie (Corie Treacy 52), Pat Purcell, Shane Tracy; Garry Sheahan (Dominic Foley 58), David O’Leary, Stephen Bradley, Sean Brosnan; Garbhan Coughlan; Rory Gaffney (Denis Behan 72).
REFEREE - Paul Tuite.