LIMERICK FC’s three-year stay in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division is hanging by a thread after the Blues suffered a shattering 4-2 defeat to Galway United before 650 paying customers at the Markets Field.
Basement side Limerick, who have now failed to win any of their 19 top flight fixtures this season, shipped three second half goals as their losing top flight run stretched to nine games.
Jake Keegan fired a hat-trick for Galway, while Limerickman Gary Shanahan was also on target as the Terryland Park side recorded a deserved victory.
Visitors Galway made a dream start when a pin-point cross from their Limerickman Shanahan on 12 minutes was flashed to the net by Keegan who was left unmarked at the back post.
Limerick supporters in the main stand were on their feet two minutes later when Dean Clarke was felled as he raced through on goal. The assistant referee flagged for the foul which looked to be inside the penalty area, but despite the protests from the Blues players, only a free was awarded. Shane Tracy’s left footed effort from the rsultant free-kick was pushed wide by Galway ‘keeper Conor Winn.
To their credit, Limerick held their composure and scored their second goal back at the Markets Field on 33 minutes when Lee-J Lynch’s corner was headed to the net by former Galway player Vinny Faherty. A slick top surface made for a lively, open game, although the remainder of the half failed to produce another goal.
Limerick’s 17-year-old ‘keeper Tommy Holland did very well to deny substitute Padraic Cunningham from putting the visitors ahead when producing a smart save soon after the restart.
However, Galway wrapped up the points as Keegan completed his hat-trick with two further goals in the 62nd and 74th minutes.
With just under 10 minutes remaining Shanahan made it 4-1 to Galway when firing home after a smart turn in the box.
Limerick did gain a consolation goal in the 83rd minute when Ian Turner converted from the penalty spot after the subsitute was fouled inside the area.
Martin Russell’s Limerick side host English Championship side MK Dons in a friendly fixture at the Markets Field on Tuesday night at 7pm.
LIMERICK FC: Tommy Holland, Shane Tracy, Paul O’Conor (Ian Turner 68), Vinny Faherty, Shane Duggan (Capt), Dean Clarke, Jason Hughes (Shane Costelloe 83). Tony Whitehead, Paudie O’Connor, Sean Russell, Lee-J Lynch (Prince Agyemang half-time).
GALWAY UNITED: Conor Winn, Paul Sinnott (Capt), Ryan Connolly (Jason Molloy 83), Jake Keegan, Gary Shanahan, Enda Curran (Padraic Cunningham 26), Marc Ludden, Colm Horgan, Alex Byrne, Stephen Walsh, Dave O’Leary.
REFEREE: Graham Kelly (Cork)