Away days: Jack Tuite of Cabinteely will welcome Limerick FC to Blackrock RFC's ground this Saturday afternoon for a first division tie
LIMERICK FC return to action in the SSE Airtricity League First Division this Saturday afternoon when facing fourth-placed Cabinteely at Stradbrook, 2.30pm.
Limerick secured their first league win of the campaign when easing past Cobh Ramblers 3-1 at the Markets Field on Friday night before an official attendance of just 355.
A much-changed Limerick side then exited the EA Sports Cup at the first round stage to Cobh just 72 hours later at St Colman’s Park on Bank Holiday Monday.
‘Blues’ boss Tommy Barrett will be relieved that Limerick managed to finally break their scoring duck in the league Friday night’s win over Cobh.
Kieran Hanlon netted twice for the Blues, while Connor Ellis was also on target in the timely win over their Munster rivals.
Limerick remain unbeaten at home after three games and have conceded just once at the Garryowen venue this season.
The win saw Limerick move up to sixth place in the First Division table, two points behind Saturday’s opponents, fourth-placed Cabinteely.
‘Blues’ Manager Tommy Barrett said: “People were looking at the two draws with Longford and Drogheda as poor ones. I never thought that. This is a difficult league. You look at Cabinteely putting four past Drogheda on Friday night. It is tough”
“In the league match against Cobh, I thought we played quite well, although defensively Cobh could have scored a few as well.
“Conditions were tough. The pitch was spongy and the rain didn’t help. It made for an entertaining game and was end to end.
”I think the game could have been 5-4 or 6-1, it was one of those ones.
“Kieran Hanlon’s first goal was a good finish. He had two or three more chances and scored a second goal. We went with a 3-5-2 formation, I felt we would go with two up top.
“In fairness to Cobh, they were switching the play and were catching us out.
“It’s difficult because we have only a day to work on it in the week, we have only a full size pitch on a Thursday, you can only have one training session with 11 v 11, so it is hard to nail that down.
“We decided to go back to a four.”
Barrett was impressed with how goalscorers Hanlon, who bagged two, and Connor Ellis, played against Cobh.
“I thought Connor and ‘Red’ Hanlon were very good. They caused the Cobh back four an awful lot of trouble. In fairness, we said at the start and at half time, just get the ball up to them because they were causing them trouble all the time.
“Sometimes, it’s a case of good long passes, just get the ball up to the strikers early and try and score.”
Barrett was unhappy with the condition of the Markets Field playing surface for Friday night’s game with Cobh.
“Look, the pitch is not in good condition and we need to get it better. You can bury your head in the sand and say it’s great, but it’s not.
“It needs to be better. It is a shame it has gotten to that level. Every manager who came here last year complained about it.
“You mightn’t get as many complaints this year because it is probably similar to some of the First Division pitches, but it is not a pitch now, it is a field.
“The grass is longer, it doesn’t look right, there is no firmness to it, there are a lot of better junior pitches in town in my opinion.”