Limerick FC face stiff Athlone challenge

LIMERICK FC’s First Division promotion credentials face a severe test this Friday when Pat Scully’s second-placed side face third-placed Athlone Town at Lissywoollen (7.45pm).

LIMERICK FC’s First Division promotion credentials face a severe test this Friday when Pat Scully’s second-placed side face third-placed Athlone Town at Lissywoollen (7.45pm).

A degree of spice will also be added to the occasion by the presence of a significant number of ex-Limerick players in the Athlone squad as well as former ‘Super Blues’ boss Mike Kerley, who is the current manager of the Midlands side.

One-time Limerick favourites Brian McCarthy, Paul Danaher, Jason Hughes, Tommy Barrett, Garvan Broughall and Robbie Kelleher have been key figures in Athlone’s encouraging start to the League season.

Both Limerick FC and Athlone Town have nine points, three less than table toppers Longford Town. Limerick go into the game on the back of an impressive 3-0 home victory over a disappointing SD Galway side at Jackman Park on Friday night. Limerick FC manager Pat Scully is expecting Friday night’s opponents to provide a severe test.

Scully said: “Athlone are a good side. They usually start the season very well. It will be tough. It is very rare they get hammered by anyone.

“I think Brian McCarthy and Garvan Broughall have done a good job for them going back there from last year. We are always going to be a big scalp for anyone. I think with the strong Limerick connection in their side, they are going to up their game. They have Tommy Barrett, Jason Hughes and people like that. The most important thing for us is that we keep improving and get a positive result.”

Frontman Dominic Foley has formed an impressive partnership with Denis Behan and bagged his first goal for the club against SD Galway.

Scully said: “Dominic has only been at the club a short time. He is a fantastic lad to work with. It is like as if he has been here for three or four years. He is a really good professional.”

Pat Scully’s attacking options have also been increased with the return of the exciting Garry Sheahan after long-term injury.

Scully said: “It is great for us to have Garry Sheahan back. We have to be careful with him too. He played in the Munster Senior Cup last week too. He got another 20 minutes against SD Galway. You see when Garry comes on, he is a threat. He gets crosses in, his pace is electrifying. He is going to be a big player for us this year to manage that properly.”

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