Limerick FC return to promotion hunt

After the eagerly-anticipated friendly match against Manchester City which headlined a busy weekend for the club, attention will switch back to league football for Limerick FC on Friday night.

After the eagerly-anticipated friendly match against Manchester City which headlined a busy weekend for the club, attention will switch back to league football for Limerick FC on Friday night.

The Blues hope to maintain their promotion charge when they travel to Ferrycarrig Park to take on Wexford Youths in Airtricity League Division One, which Limerick currently lead by three points.

While the glamour friendly against Manchester City attracted worldwide coverage and brought over 20,000 fans to Thomond Park, Limerick manager Pat Scully insists that he and his players have had only one main focus throughout the season.

“Our focus has always been the league. Big friendly games will inevitably bring a bit of hype and it was a great experience for the fans, but for the staff and the players the league is the be-all and end-all,” said Scully.

He added: “Nothing else has been prioritised apart from getting promotion and that hasn’t changed. Wexford is always a challenging place to go and they’re defensively well set up.

“I was delighted with the performance against Longford last week and if we can perform to the level we’re capable of, Wexford will have to play out of their skins to beat us.”

Although Scully has clearly defined promotion to the Premier League as the club’s target for 2012, he acknowledged that the Manchester City game was of huge benefit to the club in more ways than one.

He said: “It was a great weekend for everyone and the publicity from the weekend was fantastic. Manchester City were very happy with the welcome they got and were well looked after. It was great to play in a fantastic stadium in front of a massive crowd.

“We must remember that we’re still in Division One and as a club we’re only starting to progress. This game offered us a glimpse of where we want to go.

“We want to be playing these top-class teams more regularly, but you have to earn the right to do that and the first step is by winning Division One.”

Limerick played three matches in four days over the Bank Holiday weekend, beginning with the 0-0 draw at home to Longford Town in the league on Friday.

They then took on Manchester City in a memorable friendly game which the English champions won 4-0 and Scully’s team ended a busy weekend with a 4-1 defeat to Shamrock Rovers in the semi-finals of the EA Sports Cup.

The Dublin side would have been regarded as favourites for the game but Scully felt that the final score did not do justice to his team.

“It was disappointing to go out of the cup and I thought 4-1 was very harsh. Rovers only had four or five chances in the whole game and made the most of them.

“We played very well in the first half and were only 1-0 down when I thought we should have had a definite penalty. If we made it 1-1 going into half-time it could have been a very different game.”

Goalkeeper David Ryan was stretchered off against Manchester City and is set to be out of action for a month, although Scully is pleased with the overall fitness of his squad.

“Dave will be out for three or four weeks with a slight ligament problem, but nothing was broken which is good news,” said the Limerick manager.

“Robert Kluciar got a bang against Rovers but he should be fine and David O’Leary is back training and could be back in the next week or two.”