LIMERICK FC have just a single point to show from their opening two fixtures in the new SSE Airtricity League Premier League season after Stuart Taylor’s side suffered a frustrating 2-1 defeat to Dundalk at Oriel Park this Friday night.
Substitute Kurtis Byrne headed the winner for the Co Louth side in the 77th minute after Taylor’s men looked on course to take at least one point from the game.
Manager Taylor shuffled his squad for the trip to Oriel Park giving starts to Tony Whitehead, Shane Costelloe, James McGrath and Garbhán Coughlan, in a team that averaged just 21 years. Missing from the squad were regulars Barry Ryan, Samuel Oji, Robbie Williams, Danny Galbraith, Craig Curran, club captain Shane Duggan and new arrival Michael Leahy.
Limerick started very brightly and took the lead on 15 minutes when Shane Tracy’s free-kick from close to 40-yards was too hot to handle for Peter Cherrie who dropped the ball over the line.
Dundalk drew level five minutes before half-time when Towell found Meenan on the right and his excellently floated cross went beyond the reach of the impressive Cusack and it was left to Hoban to head into the empty net.
Early in the second half, Rory Gaffney could have restored Limerick’s lead but Cherrie blocked the shot with his legs, before Boyle and Horgan both went close for the home side.
The Dundalk winner came 13 minutes from time when a mistake in midfield opened up the Limerick defence, Hoban’s first effort blocked by Cusack into the air for Byrne to head in.
Next up for Limerick FC is a difficult away tie with St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park on Saturday, March 22 at 3.15pm.
DUNDALK - Peter Cherrie, Mark Rossiter (Seán Gannon 63), Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey, Darren Meenan, Richie Towell, Stephen O’Donnell (Capt), Daryl Horgan (John Mountney 89), Patrick Hoban, David McMillan (Kurtis Byrne 70). Goals: P Hoban (41), K Byrne (77).
LIMERICK - Shane Cusack, Shaun Kelly, Tony Whitehead, Stephen Folan, Shane Costelloe, James McGrath (Val Feeney 82), Patrick Nzuzi (Prince Agyemang 82), Shane Tracy (Capt), Jason Hughes, Garbhán Coughlan (Darragh Rainsford 54), Rory Gaffney. Goal: S Tracy (15). Booked: S Costelloe (35), S Tracy (52), J Hughes (58).
REFEREE - Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan).