LIMERICK FC captain Pat Purcell summed it up better than most when he described his side’s glamour friendly with Manchester City as an occasion ‘on which dreams are made.’
More than 20,000 soccer fans flocked to the venue to watch Premier League champions City, packed with international stars, showcase their talents at the famed rugby ground.
After a couple of false dawns in recent seasons, when the likes of Barcelona had been lined up for glamour visits to Limerick, only for the fixture to fall through, big time soccer finally came to the city and given the success of the occasion, more marquee friendlies are likely to follow in the seasons ahead.
The record books will show that Manchester City, who included four seasoned internationals who played in the recent European Championships, Nasri, Lescott, Clichy and Milner in their starting line-up, as well as the vastly experienced front pair of Dzeko and Santa Cruz, eased to a 4-0 win.
The English Premier League champions led 3-0 at the break, with Dzeko firing a brace and Dedryck Boyota adding a third after Limerick had defiantly held their big-spending opponents scoreless for the opening half an hour.
A 78th minute goal from Luca Scapuzzi rounded off the scoring for Roberto Mancini’s side.
Limerick FC provided plucky opposition all through, with manager Pat Scully opting to ring the chances through the second half, given the hectic nature of his side’s current playing schedule.
Meanwhile, on the subject of the game itself, Limerick FC captain, Pat Purcell said he was very proud to have the opportunity to play against the reigning Premier League champions.
Purcell said: “This was genuinely a night upon which dreams are made for the club. From a players’ perspective, it doesn’t come any bigger than this, to play Manchester City at Thomond Park in front of 20,000 people.
“To think where the club has come from over the past number of years, it is a very proud moment for me personally as a player to be involved in and captain of the club.
“I hadn’t allowed myself think about it enough because we had such a big game against Longford and a Cup semi-final with Shamrock Rovers.”
Purcell received a special memento from the game when England defender, Joleon Lescott presented him with his jersey.
“I said it to Joleon on the pitch about getting his jersey. In fairness, he came looking for me after the match,” Purcell said.
“He is a top man in that respect. I am delighted with that as well.
“The club can build on this. Potentially, there are another eight of these fixtures available to them in Thomond Park.
“You can expect to see similar games next season and in the years to come.
“Hopefully the club can keep progressing and we can make the Premier League, trying to get into Europe and playing European matches here.”
LIMERICK FC – Dave Ryan (Shane Cusack 44) (Barry Ryan 70), Robert Klucair (Barry Sheedy 57), Shane Tracy (Andrew Cowpar 74), Corie Treacy, Pat Purcell (Capt) (Shane Gutherie 38), Joe Gamble (Sean Brosnan half-time) (Derek O’Brien 78), Jeffrey Judge (James McGrath 60), Stephen McGann (Tony Whitehead 67), Dominic Foley (Garbhan Coughlan half-time), Stephen Bradley (Shaun Kelly ht), Garry Sheahan (Denis Behan half-time) .
MANCHESTER CITY – Costel Pantilimon, Dedryck Boyota, Gael Clichy, Joleon Lescott, Samir Nasri (Capt), (Luca Scapuzzi 32 mins), George Evans (Reece Wabara 57 mins), Denis Suarez, Ryan McGivern (Marcos Lopes half-time), James Milner (Filippo Mancini 73 mins), Edin Dzeko (Harry Bunn 70 mins), Roque Santa Cruz (Shay Facey 73 mins).
REFEREE – Anthony Buttimer (Cork)
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