Limerick FC face do or die clash in Sligo

5 March 2014; A general view of a football. UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier, Republic of Ireland v Montenegro, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
LIMERICK FC must defeat Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds on Friday night and hope Drogheda fail to beat Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght in order to secure a Premier Division relegation play-off.

LIMERICK FC must defeat Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds on Friday night and hope Drogheda fail to beat Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght in order to secure a Premier Division relegation play-off.

Bottom-placed Limerick remain two points behind Drogheda Utd going into the final series of regular season games on Friday night.

Should Limerick beat Sligo, then the Drogs must beat Shamrock Rovers to remain ahead of the Blues in the table. Sligo Rovers secured their Premier Division status for next season with an impressive victory over St Patrick’s Athletic.

Limerick FC and Drogheda Utd have the same goal difference. Should Limerick secure a relegation play-off it will be against the winners of the First Division play-off tie between Finn Harps and UCD.

Limerick FC’s hopes of even achieving a relegation play-off looked slim when the Blues had picked up just six points from their opening 21 Premier Division games. However, a terriric run which saw Martin Russell’s side pick up 20 points from a possible 27 to boost their survival hopes. However, Limerick’s form has dipped in recent weeks with the Shannonsiders losing three of their last four games, all at the Markets Field.

Manager Russell insisted he still believed Limerick could pull off the ‘great escape.’

“Oh definitely. We are going to Sligo looking for the win and see what happens in the Drogheda game. That is what the focus is on now. We need to get three points next Friday to have any chance.

“The travelling supportwe had at the last away match against Galway was very good.

“That support is very much valued by the team. Who is not to say that we won’t have another memorable night in Sligo just like we did in Galway and for the fans who come.

“People didn’t think we would have this bite of the cherry on the last day of the regular season. As I said the lads have worked hard to accumulate the points recently. Therefore we have the chance next weekend.”

Limerick FC captain Shane Duggan said: “I thought it would probably come down to the last game anyway.

“Hopefully we can go up there (to Sligo) and get the three points. It is a Cup final now. This is the last chance and we are going to give it everything.

“I felt against Derry our performance wasn’t good enough. In patches against Shamrock Rovers on Friday night we did ok. I don’t think the fact Sligo Rovers are safe now will make it any easier for us. I am sure they will want to put on a good show for their last home game of the season in front of their own fans.

“It’s not going to be easy, but I think we have enough in the squad to get the three points up there. Everyone has to be on top of their game and at it. Going back two months ago, I would have bitten your hand off for a shot at a play-off. It’s still in our hands.”