History

1970s


Limerick started the 1970-71 season with a defeat against St Patrick’s Athletic. Successive defeats saw Limerick at the bottom of the League of Ireland table on 8 November. The Limerick Leader announced on 18 November that the club director, Lord Petersham was about to invest a large amount of money in the club. This sparked new interest in the club and a big crowd attended the Markets Field to see Limerick beat Drogheda on 22 November. They continued their success and finished in seventh place in the League of Ireland. But their greatest victory was to come in winning the FAI Cup that season beating Drogheda 3-0 in a replay. Celebrations went on for weeks in the city. Remarkable Record
‘It is not often that Limerick A.F.C. figure amongst the trophy winners in League of Ireland football but a remarkable feature is that when they do strike it rich they do so, on the double. A glance through Limerick’s record over the past two decades indicates that success comes to them in five-year circles and furthermore they follow one victory with another.’

As a result of Limerick winning the FAI Cup they once again qualified for the European Cup Winners Cup and this time they were drawn against Torino of Italy. The first leg was played in Limerick at Thomond Park. A defensive mix-up allowed the Italians in and they ended up winning by a single goal. The second leg, played in Italy, saw the Italians winning 4-0

In early 1972 the Board of Directors of Limerick Soccer instructed Ewan Fenton to implement a wage cut amongst the players which did nothing to help the morale of the players and their match play. Things came to a head with the defeat by Finn Harps which put Limerick in the position of having to apply for re-election to the league for the coming season. They finished second last in the league.

The 1972-73 was a better season. Limerick finished ninth place in the League of Ireland with five teams beneath them

In the 1973-74 season Kevin Fitzpatrick was player-manager and Al Finucane had left to play with Waterford. On 10 February 1974 Limerick lost to Transport, a non-league club, 1-0 in the second round of the FAI Cup which led to Kevin Fitzpatrick resigning as player-manager. Limerick finished the season’s campaign ninth in the league with no improvement on the previous season. During the season another problem arose of hooliganism from skinhead supporters in the Markets Field.

In the 1975-76 season Ewan Fenton returned as team manager. A number of new, young players were introduced to the side and the supporters were asked to have patience but the season was again marred by hooliganism and the worst sports violence ever witnessed in Limerick sport. After Limerick won the Bass League Cup 4-0 against Sligo Rovers on 16 October 1975 at Markets Field, at least one hundred Sligo Rovers fans, mostly thugs, marauded through the terraces, the grey hound track and the fringes of the pitch. The trouble continued for some time without a garda or a steward in sight. Off duty detectives Michael Hynes and Michael Browne, who were spectators, and some of the directors tried to clear the track but they were assaulted. Some of the youngsters invaded the pitch and proceeded to knock down a photographer from the Cork Examiner, kicking and beating him as well as damaging his camera. Seven youths, four from Limerick and three from Sligo, were arrested and appeared in court. The season ended with Limerick finishing thirteenth in the league, one place above Shamrock Rovers who were at the bottom of the table.

In the 1976-77 season Frankie Johnson was team manager. Limerick were beaten 2-0 against Dundalk in the FAI Cup Final and finishing twelfth in the League of Ireland.

The 1977-78 season was not successful. With John Herrick as team manager, Limerick finished seventh in the League of Ireland.

In the 1978-79 season Limerick’s team manager Roger Connolly introduced junior international player Tony Morris. The former Pike Rovers player proved his worth with some excellent scoring when he made his debut for Limerick on 8 October at St Mels Park against Athlone. Limerick won 1-0 and finished sixth on the table. 10The 1979-80 season began with the arrival of manager Eoin Hand from Portsmouth. Limerick started the league with a 2-0 win over University College Dublin marking the beginning of one of the best and most exciting campaigns. They went from success to success and had their supporters fully behind them. The team traveled to Richmond Park to play St Patrick’s Athletic on 10 November where they were beaten 2-0 but this did not stop the enthusiasm of the supporters who paid over £6000 in admission charges to see them play. On Sunday, 20 April 1980 Limerick traveled to Athlone Town bringing with them one of the largest following of fans, many hoping to be part of Limerick’s biggest soccer occasion in over twenty years. They were not disappointed. Tony Meaney’s penalty shot into the goal gave Limerick the point they needed and the League of Ireland Championship. Athlone had never seen anything like the invasion of Limerick supporters in their quiet midlands town that afternoon and not a single incident was reported. ‘Well done Limerick United and your supporters too’ said the evening papers. Limerick came very close to winning the FAI Cup that year but were knocked out in the semi-finals after a replay against Waterford who had ex-Limerick players, Richie Hall and Al Finucane in their squad.

In the 1976-77 season Frankie Johnson was team manager. Limerick were beaten 2-0 against Dundalk in the FAI Cup Final and finishing twelfth in the League of Ireland.

1979 – 1980

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