Limerick manager Martin Russell says he could “not fault the group of players on their effort” after his side fell to a 2-1 defeat by Saint Patrick’s Athletic at Jackman Park on Saturday evening.
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Aaron Greene scored in each half to edge the Saints to their first away victory this term, with Limerick unable to find an equaliser after Ian Turner’s free-kick fired them back into the game late on.
The result saw the Shannonsiders end a busy week with two points from their three outings, with Russell believing his team “probably deserved more for their efforts”.
Still, he says there is a “lot to be taken” from how they competed against his former club – where he played and coached – and he is “relishing” the challenge that awaits against reigning League Champions and current leaders Dundalk next weekend.
“We were competitive throughout the game and even up to the final whistle we looked like we could possibly get something from it,” Russell told LimerickFC.ie.
“There is a lot to be taken from that because St. Patrick’s Athletic have got together a strong squad. I’m disappointed to lose but I can’t fault the group of players on their effort.
“I was disappointed with the first goal. We could have stopped it at source by reacting a tad quicker. The players realise that – they’re equally disappointed. It just goes to show that the higher the level the margin of error grows smaller.
“It’s important we learn from those things, but we also caused them problems and maybe on another night we would have at least got a draw from our efforts.
“There was only one goal in it at half-time and we were well in it. To be fair to the boys, they were probably taking the game to St. Pat’s when they scored the second. That really knocked us.
“But we got one back quite quickly and from thereon in the result was probably in doubt. It looked like we would get another chance.
“We had one or two chances; Paudie O’Connor rose above them and just couldn’t get the header on target. Maybe there was a shout for a Dean Clarke penalty, and again a couple of free-kicks around the edge of the box that we managed to get that we probably should have made better use of.
“Against the top teams, you’ve got to take those chances because you don’t get too many of them.
“I think St. Pat’s will go home thinking that they’ve had to work for their win, and that’s a good sign for us because it makes us competitive against the top teams and that’s what we want to be.
“In hindsight, you’d say with a little bit more rub of the green that you could have got more points on the board in the past week. We probably deserved more points for our efforts.
“But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. What we’ve got to do is move onto the next one against Dundalk, go and relish that challenge, and the points will look after themselves throughout the course of the campaign.
“Not many people expected us probably to run St. Pat’s so close but ourselves. We’ve got to show that belief again and if we can improve even again, which we’re trying to do, who knows.
“We’ll give it our best shot next weekend but we’re under no illusions how well Dundalk are going and we know we’re going to have to be really good.”
Date: Monday 30 March 2015