LIAM McCartan came off the bench to claim the vital goal that secured the U-19 Southern Elite Division title for Limerick FC at Saint Colman’s Park on Tuesday evening.
The Tommy Barrett-managed side finished two points ahead of second placed Waterford Utd in the 20-game league, winning eight and drawing one of their nine league games since Christmas.
Southern Elite Division champions Limerick will now go on to face Shelbourne U-19s, from the Northern Elite Division, in the quarter-final of the National Under-19 Champions of Ireland competition. The game is due to take place on the weekend of April 11-12.
Both Limerick and Cobh had been undefeated since returning from the Christmas break but – in very windy conditions – it was the visitors who went closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half.
Early on, Clyde O’Connell’s thunderous free-kick from 30-yards was heading for the top corner only for Eoghan Daly to get across and produce a stunning save to push it clear. Then the ‘keeper denied Ross Mann.
Cobh’s Aaron Drinan should have done better with a finish after controlling a cross in the box, and just after the break, George Gill’s effort was saved.
But the crucial breakthrough arrived midway through the second half as O’Connell’s deflected shot caused problems for the home ‘keeper with James Duggan and McCartan both attacking the rebound, with the latter claiming it, just five minutes after entering as a substitute.
COBH RAMBLERS: Eoghan Daly, Ben O’Riordan, Adam O’Sullivan, David O’Connor, David King (Alex O’Brien 80), Shane Daly-Butz, George Gill, Christopher McCarthy (Capt), Daniel Barry, Stephen Christopher, Aaron Drinan. Unused Subs: Charlie Fleming, Jacob Buris, Ruairí Cotter, Patrick Cronin.
LIMERICK FC: Tommy Holland, Stephen Nolan, Conor Maguire (Capt), Mark Hoban, Killian Brouder, Killian Hayes (James Duggan HT), Ross Fitzgerald, Val Feeney (Shane Lowth 90+3), Clyde O’Connell (Jack Lynch 74), Ross Mann, Oisín Kelly (Liam McCartan 63). Unused Subs: Arkadiusz Mamala (GK), Eoin Whelan.