Resurgent Limerick FC focus on cup

David Byrne

Reporter:

David Byrne

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sport@limerickleader.ie

Resurgent Limerick FC focus on cup

Rodrigo Tosi in action for Limerick FC against Bohemians

REVITALISED Limerick FC turn their attention towards the FAI Cup as they face a difficult test when Finn Harps visit the Markets Field on Saturday, 6.30pm.

Saturday's fixture will be the first of two home games against the Donegal outfit in the space of just six days as Neil McDonald's team will host a struggling Finn Harps side the following Friday in a vital Premier Division game.

Fresh from their crucial victory against Bohemians in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division on Saturday evening, Limerick look to continue their cup run which started off with a 3-0 away win against Cobh Ramblers in Cork.

The Blues can progress to the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup with victory over Finn Harps on Saturday night, as Limerick FC manager Neil McDonald has rallied supporters to get behind his inconsistent side.

"We are a team in transition, newly promoted and bedding in new players. The support since I've arrived here has been fantastic, and while I completely understand the frustration that our supporters have been feeling of late, we have to stick together," he said.

Looking back on Saturday's win against Bohemians, McDonald said: "It is very satisfying, a little bit frustrating that we had to go all the way to the 90th minute and not finish the game off earlier with the chances we had but after the few results that we've had recently it was a fantastic performance from the players.

"We've had a horrendous few results, we've played second, third and fourth in the league which has been very, very difficult and we just had to hold our nerve which we did and the players showed a lot of character to win a game 1-0 and keep a clean sheet."

Asked if he was keeping a watchful on the previous night's games in the Premier Division, which saw fellow strugglers Sligo Rovers record an impressive away win against high-flying Cork City, McDonald explained how it is important to focus on his own team but couldn't help keep a nervous eye on other clubs.

"Yes, I was. I was a little bit nervous with the results coming in and thankfully a few of the results went for us which was excellent but we still have to concentrate on ourselves but we know people are chasing us.

”They are fighting, kicking, spitting and scratching but we did exactly the same against Bohs and we got what we deserved, "added the under-pressure English manager.

Looking forward to Saturday's FAI Cup clash, Limerick FC goalkeeper Brendan Clarke described his relief at picking up three points against Bohemians and welcomed the distraction of the cup.

"We didn't get carried away after we lost three games in the league and we aren't going to get carried away with a win now, we've a lot of work to do. We have the cup week coming up which is a nice change but then it will be back to the league and we've to try and push up the table and away from where we don't want to be."

Former Sunderland midfielder Martin Smith continues to train with Limerick FC, as the club sets to officially announce his signing, but it is unknown if he will be available for Saturday's FAI cup game against Finn Harps.

Asked if he was confident of adding further signings before the closure of the current transfer window at the end of August, Neil McDonald said: "We are still chatting and we are still trying to strengthen the squad. We are trying to improve the squad all the way through until the end of the transfer window."

Limerick's clash with Ollie Horgan's side on Saturday, is one of two all Premier Division ties in Round 2 of the FAI Cup, and if the Super Blues manage to record a win then a run to the latter stages in a huge possibility and a welcomed distraction from the Premier Division run-in.

Saturday's game will be decided on the night and extra-time and penalties will take place if needed, due to the FAI's decision not to have replays in the early rounds of the cup due to last season's fixture congestion.