Limerick FC welcome Shamrock Rovers to Thomond Park tonight, as they look to bounce back from consecutive defeats, away to Sligo Rovers and at home to St Patrick’s Athletic.
The losses have seen the Blues tumble to ninth in the table but at this early stage of the season a victory tonight would see them leapfrog Shamrock Rovers back into third.
A large crowd is expected at Thomond for one of the season’s glamour fixtures. It is occasions like this that Limerick FC fans have been craving during their 19-year top flight exodus and manager Stuart Taylor expects Blues fans to be on song.
“They have one of the biggest supports in the country,” said Taylor of Shamrock Rovers. “Our supporters have got to overcome them, be louder than them, be more supportive than them. Knowing the passion that’s in the city, that will be the case. It’s one that we’ll relish, hearing them shouting and cheering on the sidelines and overall it’s going to be a fantastic game because both sides go and play football and both supports are passionate. I think it’s going to be a fantastic atmosphere,” said Taylor.
Rovers have not started as they would have wished and find themselves in fifth, 11 points behind league leaders Sligo Rovers after just five games, though they have tonight’s game in hand over the defending champions. They are undefeated in five fixtures this season but have drawn four of the five and will be keen to cut Sligo’s lead to eight points with victory. Taylor is fully aware of tonight’s challenge saying:
“It’s a massive club with a lot of history. There is a lot of motivation for other teams playing against them. They’re a good footballing side, Trevor Croly’s got them playing excellent football. They have got fantastic players throughout their team in important positions.”
Limerick will be glad to have the influential Taylor back on the sideline after serving his one-game suspension in Saturday night’s loss at home to Pat’s. The deputising Shane Cusack will continue in goal as Barry Ryan serves the second of a two-match ban. Axel Bossekota also serves the final match of a three-game suspension.
Rory Gaffney looks sure to be included in the matchday squad for the first time this season, while Robbie Williams is still struggling with a groin strain. Dave O’Leary is believed not to be far away from a first team return but tonight may come too soon in his recovery from a badly bruised knee. Long-term absentees Jeffrey Judge and Dominic Foley remain sidelined.
The game kicks off at 7.45pm.
A report of the game will be online before 10pm.