SOMETHING for everyone in a six-game thriller on Saturday evening, but in the end, neither set of supporters felt particularly happy departing Turner’s Cross after Limerick FC drew 3-3 with Cork City
Twice Limerick FC let valuable leads slip to allow Cork City grab a share of the spoils in a hugely entertaining Munster derby.
But the result of this key clash ensures Limerick remain of a promotion spot with just seven series of Airtricity League games to come.
Table toppers Shelbourne look a great bet to secure one of two automatic promotion spots after moving eight points clear at the top, while Cork City occupy the second automatic promotion berth, three points ahead of Limerick. Third-place Monaghan currently occupy a promotion play-off spot as they enjoy a two-point lead over the ‘Super Blues’.
Limerick simply must beat Longford Town at Jackman Park on Friday evening (7.45pm) to retain a realistic hope of securing promotion.
In the opening half both sides hit the woodwork early on before Pat Scully’s side hit the front in the 10th minute when former Cork City star Denis Behan knocked the ball back into Paudie Quinn’s path from Rory Gaffney’s long throw and the midfielder scored with a sweet strike.
Limerick’s lead lasted only two minutes, however. Much to the surprise of the Limerick FC fans gathered behind the St Anne’s End- and the majority of the Cork ones inside the ground too- referee Jim McKell awarded a penalty kick after Behan tackled Graham Cummins inside the box. It looked a perfectly fair challenge. Davin O’Neill made no mistake with the spot kick, however.
The Limerick players hardly had time to recover from the shock when the visitors shipped a second goal inside three minutes. Cummins cut in from the right, wrong footing the Limerick defence and then fired a stunning effort past the stranded Ryan.
However, Limerick continued to play a patient game, probing for openings and their endeavour was rewarded in the 39th minute when central defender McCarthy headed home. The sides remained deadlocked at 2-2 until half time.
Limerick regained the lead in the 68th minute, when Shaun Kelly swung in a fine cross from the right and the athletic Behan out-jumped his marker to plant a terrific header high into the net. Within two minutes, City were level, as Davin O’Neill grabbed his second of the game following a neat one-two with Cummins.
CORK CITY- Mark McNulty, Danny Murphy, Greg O’Halloran, Gearoid Morrissey, Davin O’Neill, Graham Cummins, Derek O’Brien (Ian Turner 72 mins), Kalen Spillane, Gavin Kavanagh, Neal Horgan, Daryl Horgan.
LIMERICK FC- Barry Ryan, Shaun Kelly, Corie Treacy, Brian McCarthy (Peter White 64 mins), Pat Purcell (Capt), David O’Leary (Jeffrey Judge 74 mins), Joe Gamble (Peter Hynes 79 mins), Shane Tracy, Rory Gaffney, Padraig Quinn, Denis Behan.
REFEREE- Jim McKell (Tipperary).