As is the case with most clubs in the League of Ireland, Limerick have had their fair share of bizarre stories in the past. Some strange, some downright ridiculous and some borderline unbelievable - here are some of the highlights of the past ten years.
To say Limerick's owners in the past have been unorthodox may well be understating it. At a basic level, they've had a Chinese beer-pushing businessman who fancied a dip in first team management, an absentee American that nobody had ever heard of, and a coal merchant whose speeches wouldn't be out of place in Ancient Rome.
Danny Drew, Jack McCarthy and Pat O'Sullivan are all very different men, but the one thing they all have in common, is that they're liable to say anything at any time. Drew's long and seemingly never-ending association with Limerick is one of extreme turmoil, while McCarthy's was one of extreme confusion. Eventually leading to him filing a lawsuit against the club, McCarthy's not been heard of since.
It seems hilarious to consider Pat O'Sullivan stable given some of his outbursts, but Limerick have landed on their feet with the county Limerick native.
The Russians Are Coming
It was the winter of 2012. Dawid Janczyk and Lubos Kalouda had made their way from Moscow to join Limerick on trial from CSKA. Nobody knew why, but the former had senior appearances for Poland and was still relatively young, while the latter almost signed for Juventus for four million euro only the year before.
Janczyk scored a goal in a friendly against Galway, while Kalouda looked like something out of the Champions League's top drawer. WIthin a week, both had left, with the club posting a release on their website saying how much the pair loved Limerick. Really? Kalouda is now playing with FC Slovacko in the top division in the Czech Republic while Janczyk is with Sandecja Nowy Sącz in the second tier of Polish football. We’d love to hear their memories of their trial with Limerick
A Messi Situation
Limerick can look like the most disorganised club in the country at any given moment, but also possess the power to turn around and laugh at everyone within minutes. Somehow, Limerick had organised a friendly with Barcelona back in 2010. Everything was looking good, until the FAI blocked it because it was interfering with domestic games here in Ireland.
The Blues weren't happy, but were granted the right to play friendlies in Thomond Park for the next ten years. Ironically enough, the FAI recently organised a friendly between Celtic and Inter Milan in Thomond Park. The same night Limerick played Cabinteely at home. It's probably a good thing Messi didn't get to see the big lights - Limerick might have tried to sign him.
A Ballylanders Bailout
Greece were in deep financial trouble last year. It was well documented. Limerick were in deep trouble in their domestic league - having not won a single game all year and appearing destined for the drop. Chairman Pat O'Sullivan conjured an amazing plan one night while watching a film with his wife Helen - to sign Greek players - to solve both their problems.
How could we know about such a plan? O'Sullivan went on national radio to preach the idea to the world. Athens has since stabilised, and Limerick were relegated, in case you're wondering. Needless to say, no Greek players ever arrived.
The Scottish Solution
We're all aware that Dundalk have gone from the brink of extinction to being a goal away from the Champions League group stages. The man behind that success is Stephen Kenny. He's by far and away the best manager in the country and it's only a matter of time before he's offered a job elsewhere. Limerick sacked Pat Scully in rather strange circumstances back in 2012 - after he won a league title.
Their replacement was the untried and untested Stuart Taylor. That project didn't go well and a lot of time and money was wasted. Who was the other candidate for the job at the time, you ask? Who was in contact with Limerick before regretfully agreeing terms with another club? Why, Stephen Kenny of course.
The Blue Army Bye-Bye
2015 did not go well for Limerick. It didn't start off on the right foot, to be honest. It was the opening fixture at home to Bohemians. After a two-year spell in Thomond Park, the club moved out but the Markets Field wasn’t ready in time. After almost every sports ground in the city was mentioned including the Gaelic Grounds as well as Eamon Deasy Park in Galway, Limerick announced that they were “delighted” to be returning to the Markets Field. Relatively low profile, or so you'd imagine. Minding their own business up the road, a group of Limerick fans sat in a pub, singing songs in anticipation of the upcoming season.
Pat O'Sullivan marched into the pub and banned them. The club weren’t happy with the language they were using we believe. One thing we do know, is that they spent the next number of months watching the games from a dizzying height at the train station, and also protested outside the ground - which gained national attention.At the time Limerick were struggling badly supporters but some of those banned included ones that went to almost every game.
Both sides went as far as getting a mediator in to help the process and they were back in time for the Markets Field re-opening. They’ve all been the best of friends ever since. Bizarre.