Derry disappointment for Superblues; Limerick FC 0-1 Derry City FC
The general feeling around Thomond Park last evening [Sunday 28th July] suggested the Superblues’ loss to Derry City reflected much of the problems the side have experienced this season. Once again, Limerick FC found themselves with the Lion’s share of possession, with long periods of dominance. However despite playing well, an inability to turn possession into goals allowed the opponents in for an unlikely win.
The first half was a lively encounter and Derry created the first real chance of the game when neat play found McNamee ten yards out but he shot over. The Superblues upped the tempo and for the bulk of the first half pinned the visitors into their own half. there were string claims for a penalty, waved away by referee Paul McLoughlin, when Shaun Kelly was brought down by a very clumsy challenge. Curran and Galbraith were proving a constant thorn in the sides of the Derry defence as the home side turned up the pressure.
Midway through the half the Superblues won a corner and following a scramble in the box the ball fell to Brian O’Callaghan, who showed strength and good feet to chip the ball past his marker but a Derry City hand appeared to palm the ball away in the box, the home support once again claimed a penalty, but the referee once again waved away the claims. At this stage the game was being played in horrendous conditions but the 1,000+ support who’d braved the afternoons thunder and lightning were being treated to an entertaining game.
Nearing the end of the first half the Superblues had a glorious chance after a clever flick on by Craig Curran released Dave O’Leary but the pace on the ball forced him to check his run and the Derry defence managed to scramble the chance away before it fell. Derry broke and were enjoying their first real period of possession when a clever ball from the right wing played inside Robbie Williams, who tangled with a Derry player, the innocuous looking foul was deemed a penalty, much to the annoyance of Limerick Bench.
Michael Rafter stepped up, and the Superblues will claim justice was done when, Barry Ryan saved well low down to his left with Joe Gamble finishing the clearance. The Second half started brightly with Curran and Bossekota both forcing saves before Limerick FC had their third penalty claim of the day when Galbraith went to ground in circumstances similar to the Derry penalty.
it was then that the Superblues gameplan unravelled when a long ball was flicked on into the path of McDaid, just on as a substitute, and the Derry player finished brilliantly, low across Ryan, finding the corner of the net. The Superblues sought the equaliser, Galbraith found the back of the net but was flagged offside. Bossekota and Sheedy, on as a sub, both got behind the Derry defence but found Ger Doherty in fine form in the Derry goal.
The best chance fell to the Superblues when a Craig Curran shot from distance forced Doherty into a low one-handed save, the rebound came quickly up at Gamble but somehow bounced off the Captain, no more than two yards out, and went high over the bar. A late Stephen Bradley effort pulled wide was the last Limerick FC chance in a game that left many scratching their heads around the ground.
The loss means that next Friday’s game against Cork City becomes the most important of the season as a real six-pointer. A loss would see the Superblues dragged into the tightening relegation scramble, which currently sees the bottom six teams separated by just six points.