Limerick footballers lose out to Wicklow in Allianz League round three tie

John Redington


John Redington


Limerick footballers lose out to Wicklow in Allianz League round three tie

Limerick's League momentum has been stopped


After winning their opening two outings, Limerick’s footballers were brought back to earth in Aughrim on Sunday when Wicklow recovered from surrendering their lead midway through the second half to score two match-winning goals into the teeth of the strong wind.

It was a real sickener for the visitors who had done everything asked of them up to then. After hitting rock bottom last season, the team had showed a renewed confidence this year and it carried over from their impressive display against Waterford as they bounced back from the Garden County’s all-action start, dictated the game coming up to the break and squeezed into control after the change of ends.

A moment of carelessness and the instincts of a poacher unraveled it all and the hosts, under new manager John Evans, grabbed the lifeline before Limerick could respond. Forced into taking the game to their opponents, they were then caught pushing forward and a lightning break by their wing-backs cemented Wicklow’s deserved victory.

Wicklow monopolised the ball off the throw-in but shot two wides before Stephen Duffy’s long pot got them off the mark. He then added a free and was followed by Chris O’Brien as Limerick struggled against the stiffening breeze but, once Wicklow’s early fury died down, their possession game drew a free which Seán McSweeney converted.

Keeping up the high line, Wicklow forced turnovers which led Dean Healy and O’Brien’s free putting them four to the good but Limerick’s patient play drew its reward as the break approached. Although Jamie Lee’s strike was met by Theo Smith, Colm McSweeney pointed off a 40 yard run for a half-time score of 0-6 to 0-3.

Seán McSweeney restarted with point from a mark before Duffy’s reply on the run was met by Colm McSweeney’s second. Controlling play, Limerick looked to be on their way when Séamus O’Carroll shot on the burst was saved, Brian Donovan collected the rebound and fed O’Carroll to hammer to the net. But their joy lasted just three minutes as a loose line ball pu Stephen Keeley, who’d just come on, under pressure, Chris O’Brien dispossessed him and raced through to shoot under the advancing Donal O’Sullivan.

Goalie Mark Jackson then came up to send over a free and, although Seán McSweeney free replied for a rattled Limerick, Wicklow’s tails were up and a flying move down the right wing ended with David Devereaux’s delivery being flicked to the net by Smith. Limerick tried to respond but were easily contained and the messy closing minutes ended when Patrick Begley walked on a straight red.

SCORERS, WICKLOW: Chris O’Brien 1-2, (0-1 free), Theo Smith 1-1, Stephen Duffy 0-3 (1 free), Dean Healy, Mark Jackson (free) 0-1 each;

LIMERICK: Séamus O’Carroll 1-0), Seán McSweeney 0-3 (2 frees, 1 mark), Colm McSweeney 0-2), Jamie Lee 0-1.

WICKLOW: Mark Jackson; Oisín Manning, Ross O’Brien, Jamie Snell; David Devereaux, Shane Mooney, Darragh Fitzgerald; Pádraig O’Toole, Dean Healy; Mark Fitzsimons, Mark Kenny, Theo Smith; Chris O’Brien, Stephen Duffy, Patrick O’Connor. SUBS: Paul McLoughlin for Mark Fitzsimons (half-time), Dan Keane for Patrick O’Connor (half-time), Conor Heal for Theo Smith (65 minutes), Eoin Murtagh for Stephen Duffy (68 minutes), Fintan O’Brien for Chris O’Brien (74 minutes).

LIMERICK: Donal O’Sullivan; Seán O’Dea, Garrett Noonan, Paul Maher; Colm McSweeney, Iain Corbett, Cillian Fahy; Darragh Treacy, Tommy Childs; Peter Nash, Jamie Lee, Brian Donovan; Seán McSweeney, Patrick Begley, Séamus O’Carroll. SUBS: Stephen Keeley for Tommy Childs (53 minutes), Mike Fitzgibbon for Peter Nash (53 minutes), Adrian Enright for Brian Donovan (56 minutes), Michael Donovan for Paul Maher (64 minutes), Kieran Daly for Jamie Lee (65 minutes).

REFEREE: David Murnane (Cork).