Current Premier League holder Pike Rovers overturned Janesboroâ€™s lead at the top of the table in a 3-1 victory at Pearse Stadium on Sunday morning.
A packed Pearse Stadium was treated to an incident packed game that saw four red cards brandished in a teak tough encounter.
Pikeâ€™s victory was tarnished somewhat by a bad injury to midfielder Sean Kelly which saw the Kerry youngster shifted to the Regional Hospital with a broken leg.
I have been inundated with calls to wish Sean a speedy recovery, a common hope among the Limerick soccer fraternity.
Referee Anthony Buttimer and his assistants Enda Quaide and Mike Weldon did a fine job keeping a grip on a game that was likely to flare up at any moment.
The result means that if Pike Rvs can defeat Ballynanty Rvs in Bateman Park on Thursday evening they will be crowned champions for the fifth year in succession.
That may prove a bigger task than the league table might suggest as Pike will have to field without at least four of yesterdayâ€™s starting XI.
The Hoops seemed to have that little bit more street smarts for the big occasion and a number of players turned in top class performances.
Once again Colm Enright was superb. He, along with Pat Mullins bossed the most potent attack in the League restricting them to crumbs.
Young Eddie Oâ€™Donovan had an excellent game, his pace used to good effect to curb one of Boroâ€™s main threats and in the middle of the park Jeffery Judge had his best game to date for the Hoops dominating the midfield.
For Boro Wayne Colbert gave his usual top class performance alongside Thomas Clarke but in the middle the usual threat posed by Mike Oâ€™Gorman and Shane Waters was snuffed out forcing Shane Clarke to furrow a lonely plough.
The first half produced little in the way of quality as nerves were evident throughout but a clever ball by Eddie Oâ€™Donovan put John Tierney clear forcing Wayne Colbert to foul at the cost of a yellow card.
Five minutes later Conor Kavanagh let fly with a 25 yarder that whizzed just wide.
On the half hour mark a Lyons free kick was met in the air by Shane Clarke but Gary Neville made a fine save to keep the ball out.
Glasheen made a super save to keep out a Hanrahan effort while at the other end Waterâ€™s centre towards Mousserine was intercepted by the alert Boyle.
With half time in sight Judge played into the area for Tierney and a subtle pull by Colbert was spotted by the Ref giving Conor Kavanagh the chance to put Pike in front from the spot, which he took with glee.
With Pike still celebrating a poor tackle by Alan Barry saw the Pike striker red carded to set up a different proposition for the second half.
Boro upped the tempo on the restart and Mike Oâ€™Gorman rattled the pike crossbar before Aled Harkin forced a superb save from Neville.
A breakaway by Boyle ended with a cross to the back post where Pat Moloney knocked the ball back for Judge who volleyed over the top from a good position.
Midway through the half, a loose ball saw Thomas Lyons and Sean Kelly clash in the middle of the park which saw the latter collapse in a heap and it was obvious the injury was serious. While Lyonâ€™s challenge was poor, that he did not intend any serious injury was obvious by the Boro playerâ€™s devastation on the realisation of the seriousness of the injury.
After a half hour delay the game restarted at ten aside and it was Pike who looked more focused. They doubled their lead within five minutes again from the penalty spot after Harkin knocked Boyle in the box, and again Kavanagh converted.
With 12 minutes remaining a shot by Oâ€™Gorman produced a stunning block by Neville but the keeperâ€™s team mates failed to clear properly and Wayne Colbert hit a beauty from 20 yards into the top corner.
The expected onslaught never materialised as Enright and Mullins were coolness personified and from a quick breakaway Hanrahan crossed into the area where Dave Ryan put the finishing touch.
In the final minute â€œhandbagsâ€ by Harkin and Judge saw both teams reduced to nine to bring an eventful morning to a close. b
Janesboro - Darren Glasheen; Wayne Oâ€™Donovan; Aled Harkin; Tom Clarke; Wayne Colbert; Thomas Lyons; Mike Oâ€™Gorman; Shane Waters; Dave Roche; Shane Clarke; Mouslim Mousserine. Subs: Keith McNicholas
Pike Rovers - Gary Neville; John Boyle; Eddie Oâ€™Donovan; Pat Mullins; Colm Enright; John Tierney; Conor Kavanagh; Sean Kelly; Jeffery Judge; Alan Barry; Eoin Hanrahan. Subs: Dave Ryan; Pat Moloney
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