A first-half brace from Denis Behan helped Limerick to a 2-0 win over Longford in the Airtricity League Division 1 on Saturday night. The result sees Limerick move just one point behind Longford at the top of the table.
Behan struck in the 11th minute and 22nd minute to give Limerick a deserved lead and it was one they were able to hang on to despite being reduced to 10 men in the 60th minute when Stephen Bradley was sent-off for a second yellow card.
After a poor first-half display the Town upped their game after the break but Limerick were able to soak up the pressure. When the home side did have chances they were thwarted on a few occasions by Limerick keeper Barry Ryan and were also guilty of some poor finishing too.
It was the home side who enjoyed the early possession and had the first real chance of the game in the 9th minute; full-back Noel Haverty did well to get forward and put a perfect ball into the box but unfortunately for the Town Karl Bermingham was unable to connect to it.
They were to rue that missed chance because just over one minute later Limerick opened the scoring; Rory Gaffney did well to hold the ball up and lay it off to Behan who beat Craig Hyland with a nice shot that got a wicked deflection off a Town defender. Limerick then doubled their lead in the 22nd minute.
Alan Kirby gave a rather poor pass to Salmon and it was intercepted by Stephen Bradley, Town defender Des Hope was caught out badly as the midfielder played the ball to Behan and he made no mistake with an excellent strike.
Limerick were now very much in control and the home side offered very little. They had a chance in the 36th minute but Hope headed over Keith Gillespie’s free-kick. That was to be the last effort of the half.
Salmon had the Town’s first effort on the second half in the 63rd minute forcing a fine save out of Ryan in the Limerick goals. Town started to apply the pressure and they looked for a way back into the game. They’d a great chance in the 67th minute; Colm James floated in a free which was parried by Ryan but Gary Shaw put his effort just inches wide.
It was all the home side as they tried to pull a goal back. In the 75th minute Gillespie played the ball to Jamie Duffy and his cross was cut out for a corner; the corner came to nothing. In the 77th minute Kirby was wasteful with his effort; blasting it over the bar. Another chance came Town’s way one minute later; Gillespie’s corner from the right met the head of diminutive Crawley but he was denied by a great save from Ryan.
Ryan thwarted Longford again in the 85th minute; this time saving from Gillespie’s curling free from the edge of the box. Limerick were hoping to catch the Town on the break and nearly did so in the 87th minute; James McGrath played in the excellent Rory Gaffney but Hyland did well to come out and gather. The home side continued to press as the clock ticked down but try as they might they just couldn’t find a way past Ryan.
There is now a three-week break in the league with Limerick’s next game not until Friday, June 22, when they host Wexford Youths.
Limerick - Barry Ryan; Corie Tracey, Pat Purcell, Shane Guthrie, Shane Treacy; James McGrath, Dave O’Leary, Stephen Bradley, Sean Brosnan (Steve McGann 64); Rory Gaffney, Denis Behan.
Longford Town - Craig Hyland; Noel Haverty (Jeff Flood 25 (Mick Lee half-time)), Chris Deans, Des Hope, Thomas Crawley; Colm James, Keith Gillespie, Mark Salmon, Alan Kirby; Karl Bermingham (Jamie Duffy 71), Gary Shaw.
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