MANAGER Martin Russell says Limerick FC is now back where it belongs in Premier Division football and is hopeful the Blues will be a ‘real force’ in the top flight next season.
Limerick were crowned SSE Airtricity League First Division champions following their 3-2 victory over UCD at Belfield on Sunday night.
The Blues can now look forward to playing in the Premier Division again next season after spending just one season out of the top flight.
Russell’s charges, 22 points clear at the top of the First Division, have secured their promotion with still six games remaining this season.
Russell said: “It is a great feeling. We did set out at the start of the season to try and get the quickest possible route back into the top league.
“The players have maintained their unbeaten record and the main thing is we are back in the Premier Division.
“We want to get through the rest of the season as best we can, remain unbeaten if we can manage it.
“The support at the end of tonight’s game shows how much it means to the club. That night in Ballybofey last November now when we were relegated is in the past.
“It was a heavy heart that night, but today is completely different. There is a lot of optimism now that we are back where the club belongs and hopefully Limerick can be a real force.
“We still have a lot of work ahead, but Limerick is where it should be. What we do now is important.”
Russell was pleased with the three goals his free-scoring side managed over the 90 minutes, including two in the second half from Paul O’Conor.
Russell said: “We identified at half-time that Paul (O’Conor) needed to get himself further forward and we needed to get an overload in their box to take chances when they would come.
“It was good to see Paul doing that. John O’Flynn took his chance well in the opening half.
“Listen, the main thing is that we won the game. Of course we could have played better in parts. Conceding two goals as well wasn’t great. But it’s a case of job done and we move on.
“We didn’t just want to come here for a draw. We wanted to come and win if it at all possible. If a draw was the outcome then so be it.
“Thankfully we have come out on the right end of it.”