THE Markets Field was a suitable venue as it hosted a fitting tribute to Garryowen’s very own son as Shane Tracy enjoyed the rapturous applause, a stone’s throw away from where the journey began.
Limerick FC's longest serving player relished a memorable testimonial as the former Arsenal youth player bagged a brace in a team made up of many former and current teammates.
It was goals galore at the Garryowen venue as the game finished 7-4 to the Shane Tracy XI, a team awash with well-known former Blues players such as Paddy Purcell, Joe Gamble, Tommy Barrett and Barry Ryan.
Joined by current and former teammates, it was also a family affair as Shane welcomed his sister Yvonne Tracy to the field in the second half.
The former Arsenal Ladies and Republic of Ireland player joined her brother in midfield, finishing the game with three goals to her name despite only playing twenty minutes on the night.
Saturday’s game was certainly written in the stars as Shane Tracy scored in the opening minute, adding a second with 24 minutes gone at the Markets Field.
The Garryowen native reminisced on his 10-year journey in the blue of Limerick FC, bringing many highs and lows, several managers, and many different teammates along the way since his return to Shannonside in 2008.
Amidst a career plagued by injuries, the twenty-nine-year-old looked forward to a rare testimonial in the modern football era especially in a league where long-term contracts are hard to find.
Shane was released by Arsenal in 2007 and returned home to sign for Galway United. At the start of 2008, he went to Limerick on loan, returning to Terryland Park in July of that year.
In April 2009, Shane signed a permanent deal at Limerick FC and made his first appearance as a Limerick player in an EA Cup tie against Wexford Youths. The rest is history.
Managed by former Limerick FC assistant manager Mick Sheil, the Shane Tracy XI took on the current Limerick FC squad who were fresh from a 1-1 draw away to Bray Wanderers on Friday night.
Adding to substitute Yvonne Tracy’s hat-trick and Shane’s two goals were second half goals from Garbhán Coughlan and 'Chance to Play' competition winner Paul Allen.
For the Limerick FC side, Brendan Clarke turned from regular stopper to goal-scorer and was joined on the scoresheet by teammates Dean Clarke, Stephen Kenny and Chiedozie Ogbene.
Following an entertaining game at the Markets Field, an eventful evening of celebration took place at the Castletroy Park Hotel where extra funds were raised for Shane’s chosen charity, the Irish Guide Dogs.
A signed Thierry Henry jersey went for €1550 and a Paul Pogba signed jersey sold for €900 during the auction.
A percentage of proceeds from the game went to the Assistance Dog Programme at the Irish Guide Dogs charity.