LIMERICK football manager, Maurice Horan believes the Shannonsiders may well need to win three of their four remaining games in Division 3 of the Allianz National League in order to be safe from relegation.
Limerick are currently bottom of the league table after suffering defeats in each of the three opening League fixtures, including a hugely frustrating one-point loss to Offaly at Newcastle West on Sunday last.
That run of results leaves Limerick with little margin for error as the side look forward to a home tie with Cavan on March 13, followed by an away game against Louth seven days later. Limerick complete their programme of games in a fiercely competitive Division 3 with back-to-back home fixtures against Westmeath on April 3 and Wexford a week later.
Maurice Horan said: “Four points may be enough to keep a team up, but you are probably looking at needing to have six points in order to be sure of avoiding relegation.
“We do have home advantage for three of our four remaining games, but while it is a boost it doesn’t guarantee anything in terms of results. We saw that on Sunday against Offaly. Just because we have three home games to come, we won’t be taking anything for granted.
“Division 3 is very competitive. The teams are beating each other.”
With the ban on collective team training in November and December, inter-county teams are faced with the dilemma of trying to combine heavy training in the early months of the year with a level of performance which leaves them capable of picking up precious League points.
Maurice Horan said: “We trained very hard up to the Waterford game, but we eased back on it before last weekend’s game with Offaly. I felt we looked sharper for that.
“We made a slow start against Offaly on Sunday. It was tight in the opening minutes and then they scored 1-4. Offaly did a lot of damage during that period.
“At that stage we were struggling to get the ball out of our own half. We were not winning too many kick-outs. A few refereeing decisions went against us too during that period.
“The goal from Seamus O’Carroll kick-started us and we clawed our way back into the game. We cut their lead to two points at half-time and we were still very much in contention.
“We got the opening two scores in the second half to draw level and then when we were in position to win the game, we got caught with a sucker-punch when Offaly scored their second goal.
“While it was very disappointing to lose, our display was a big improvement on our performance in the two previous League outings.”
Limerick are set to be without a number of injured players for their upcoming Allianz League fixtures, including midfielder Jim Donovan, a late withdrawal from the side to face Offaly, Monaleen’s Barry Fitzpatrick and the experienced Stephen Lucey.