When star-studded Manchester Utd played in Limerick 37 years ago today

Colm Kinsella


Colm Kinsella



When star-studded Manchester Utd played in Limerick 37 years ago today

Limerick's Pat Nolan, right, and Manchester Utd skipper Ray Wilkins shake hands before the start of Nolan's testimonial at the Markets Field on August 12 1982 watched by referee Pat Walsh and linesmen

A STAR-STUDDED Manchester Utd side visited Limerick 37 years ago to play in Pat Nolan's glamour testimonial game at the Markets Field.

Man United manager Ron Atkinson arrived in Garyowen alongside big games stars like Rep of Ireland defender and former Dublin All-Ireland winner Kevin Moran, Scottish international Gordan McQueen, legendary England internationals Bryan Robson and Ray Wilkins and Republic of Ireland striker Frank Stapleton for a one-off match in recognition of defender Pat Nolan’s loyalty and achievements in the blue shirt of Limerick.

United were the third high profile English league side to visit Limerick in the space of just over a year following Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton.

The game with the Red Devils was organised through Limerick manager's Eoin Hand's friendship with United boss Atkinson and it is estimated that it cost £15,000 to stage. Several members of the Man Utd squad relaxed ahead of the game by playing golf in Limerick.

A crowd of more than 5,000 turned out to watch the contest. 

Manchester United took control of the game inside the opening quarter to lead 2-0. The opening goal was scored in the 15th minute when Lou Macari glided his way past two defenders and into the penalty area and the in-rushing Kevin Moran came thundering in to blast the ball to the net.

Limerick didn't even have time to regroup themselves when the Red Devils struck again. Bryan Robson intercepted a back pass and shot to the net.

Limerick did put a few moves of note together when then Ireland rugby international Tony Ward made a few exciting runs down the flanks, but the Blues created little by way of clear cut scoring chances.

Limerick boss Eoin hand gave gametime to new signings Miah Dennehy, Liam Keane and Liam Murphy in the second half. Dennehy set up a chance for Tony Morris, but he shot narrowly wide.

Robson added his second goal of the evening to make it 3-0 for the visitors, before Limerick netted in the final minute through a Joe O'Mahony penalty.

LIMERICK: Power, Nolan, Finucane, O'Mahony, Storan, Nodwell, Duggan, Hulmes, Kennedy, Walsh, Ward. Subs: Dennehy, Murphy, Keane and Morris for Nolan, Kennedy, Duggan and Ward.

MANCHESTER UTD: Bailey, Duxbury, Albiston, Wilkins, Moran, Buchan, Robson, Grimes, Birtles, Macari, Davies.

REFEREE: Pat Walsh