Limerick FC manager Neil McDonald
LIMERICK FC manager Neil McDonald was delighted with the manner in which his charges kept their nerve in edging past Drogheda Utd in Saturday night's crucial relegation fixture at the Markets Field.
Limerick had scored 3-0 and 2-0 wins over the Drogs in the Premier Division already this season, but Rodrigo Tosi's 48th minute penalty was enough to see off relegated Drogs at the Garryowen venue.
McDonald’s charges need to take one point from either of their final two fixtures, beginning with Galway Utd at the Markets Field this Friday, 7.45pm, to secure their Premier Division status for 2018.
McDonald said: “We came out and set out to get the three points. It is never easy playing games like this, but we held our nerve and waited for that final pass.
“We got the goal through a great cross and fortunately were awarded a penalty. Big Roddy (Rodrigo Tosi) held his nerve. He missed his last one and showed loads of composure and nerve to give us the three points that we well deserved.
“At half-time I said that we needed to move the ball on a bit quicker and try and get into a one v one situation. Then it was all about the end product. We got that tonight and we got the three points that we desperately needed.
“Even though there was a bit of nervousness towards the end, it was a comfortable victory, I think.”
Limerick FC manager McDonald handed a league debut to exciting young local striker William Fitzgerald in the second half. Fitzgerald had made his senior debut for the club in the FAI Cup last 16 victory over Finn Harps earlier in the season.
“I have been impressed with him since I have come here,” McDonald said.
“Unfortunately, he is at college, so we only see him once or twice a week, but when he comes in he trains with the first team on a regular basis and he is definitely very confident on the ball and he delivers in the box. He showed that when he came on which is great.”
McDonald said Limerick wanted to finish the season by extending their current four-game unbeaten league run to six games. After Friday night's visit of Galway to the Markets Field, Limerick FC travel to Tallaght Stadium to face Shamrock Rovers in their final fixture of the season.
“We want to finish off the season really well. That is three or four undefeated now in the league and if we can go undefeated until the end of the season, that would be a fantastic effort from the players, especially newly-promoted.”
McDonald said both Galway Utd, scrapping for their Premier Division side also, and Limerick were under significant pressure on Friday night.
“Hopefully there is a big crowd here on Friday night and we are certainly capable of beating Galway at home,
“Our home form is decent enough over the last couple of games and we must try and improve that as much as we can.
”There is going to be lots and lots of pressure on both sides and we have got to handle it. We have handled it over the last two to three weeks which is excellent.
“That doesn't mean to say, 'no, we won't be playing for a draw' , we will be trying to win the game.
“We have had excellent support, both home and away. It is great that the last two times we have been here at the Markets Field we have picked up six points. Hopefully there is more to come on Friday against Galway.
“All the players have stepped up to the mark. We are under severe pressure all the way through and every game seems to be, 'well, it's a crucial one, it's a crucial one.'
“To deal with all that pressure, especially the two home games, winning them and getting two points out of the away games, shows good form and it shows that they are playing for the shirt which is excellent.
“They are giving everything that they've got and that is all we can ask.”